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The acquisition of a multidrug refractory state is a major cause of mortality in myeloma. Myeloma drugs that target the cereblon (CRBN) protein include widely used immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs), and newer CRBN E3 ligase modulator drugs (CELMoDs), in clinical trials. CRBN genetic disruption causes resistance and poor outcomes with IMiDs. Here, we investigate alternative genomic associations of IMiD resistance, using large whole-genome sequencing patient datasets (n = 522 cases) at newly diagnosed, lenalidomide (LEN)-refractory and lenalidomide-then-pomalidomide (LEN-then-POM)-refractory timepoints. Selecting gene targets reproducibly identified by published CRISPR/shRNA IMiD resistance screens, we found little evidence of genetic disruption by mutation associated with IMiD resistance. However, we identified a chromosome region, 2q37, containing COP9 signalosome members COPS7B and COPS8, copy loss of which significantly enriches between newly diagnosed (incidence 5.5%), LEN-refractory (10.0%), and LEN-then-POM-refractory states (16.4%), and may adversely affect outcomes when clonal fraction is high. In a separate dataset (50 patients) with sequential samples taken throughout treatment, we identified acquisition of 2q37 loss in 16% cases with IMiD exposure, but none in cases without IMiD exposure. The COP9 signalosome is essential for maintenance of the CUL4-DDB1-CRBN E3 ubiquitin ligase. This region may represent a novel marker of IMiD resistance with clinical utility.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1816 - 1821


Humans, Multiple Myeloma, Lenalidomide, RNA, Small Interfering, Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases, Peptide Hydrolases