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Novel biomarkers for tumour burden and bone disease are required to guide clinical management of plasma cell dyscrasias. Recently, bone turnover markers (BTMs) and Diffusion-Weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DW-MRI) have been explored, although their role in the prospective assessment of multiple myeloma (MM) and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is unclear. Here, we conducted a pilot observational cohort feasibility study combining serum BTMs and DW-MRI in addition to standard clinical assessment. Fifty-five patients were recruited (14 MGUS, 15 smouldering MM, 14 new MM and 12 relapsed MM) and had DW-MRI and serum biomarkers (P1NP, CTX-1, ALP, DKK1, sclerostin, RANKL:OPG and BCMA) measured at baseline and 6-month follow-up. Serum sclerostin positively correlated with bone mineral density (r = 0.40-0.54). At baseline, serum BCMA correlated with serum paraprotein (r = 0.42) and serum DKK1 correlated with serum free light chains (r = 0.67); the longitudinal change in both biomarkers differed between International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG)-defined responders and non-responders. Myeloma Response Assessment and Diagnosis System (MY-RADS) scoring of serial DW-MRI correlated with conventional IMWG response criteria for measuring longitudinal changes in tumour burden. Overall, our pilot study suggests candidate radiological and serum biomarkers of tumour burden and bone loss in MM/MGUS, which warrant further exploration in larger cohorts to validate the findings and to better understand their clinical utility.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancers (basel)

Publication Date





DW-MRI, MGUS, biomarkers, bone disease, multiple myeloma