Multiple myeloma (MM) progression is dependent on its interaction with the bone marrow microenvironment and the immune system and is mediated by key surface antigens. Some antigens promote adhesion to the bone marrow matrix and stromal cells, while others are involved in intercellular interactions that result in differentiation of B-cells to plasma cells (PC). These interactions are also involved in malignant transformation of the normal PC to MM PC as well as disease progression. Here, we review selected surface antigens that are commonly used in the flow cytometry analysis of MM for identification of plasma cells (PC) and the discrimination between normal and malignant PC as well as prognostication. These include the markers: CD38, CD138, CD45, CD19, CD117, CD56, CD81, CD27, and CD28. Furthermore, we will discuss the novel marker CD24 and its involvement in MM. The bioactivity of each antigen is reviewed, as well as its expression on normal vs. malignant PC, prognostic implications, and therapeutic utility. Understanding the role of these specific surface antigens, as well as complex co-expressions of combinations of antigens, may allow for a more personalized prognostic monitoring and treatment of MM patients.
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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- flow cytometry
- multiple myeloma
- surface antigens