Myeloma, often referred to as multiple myeloma, is a blood cancer of the plasma cells found in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are white blood cells which play an important role in the body's immune system as they produce antibodies that help fight infection. Myeloma begins when healthy plasma cells change and grow out of control, and it is called multiple myeloma since the cancer often affects several areas of the body. Abnormal plasma cells can crowd out or suppress the growth of other cells in the bone marrow, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Multiple myeloma is considered treatable, but generally an incurable disease.
Figure 1. The volcano plot shows the adjusted p-value compared to the difference in average protein expression (NPX) for all proteins in Myeloma compared to all other cancers. The lollipop plot shows the top 10 most important proteins resulting from the cancer prediction model with importance scores ranging between 0 to 100.
Pan-cancer protein panel
Three proteins were selected by the model to predict the immune cell related cancer myeloma. Two of the three top proteins are enriched in immune cells, but surprisingly the top protein with high prediction value is Contactin 5 (CNTN5), a membrane-bound cell adhesion molecule mainly expressed in the brain. However, this protein has been shown by epigenetic studies to be upregulated on the transcriptional level in myeloma (Peng Y et al. (2020)) and its role in myeloma is therefore intriguing and its relationship with the disease should be further investigated.