Free access | 10.1172/JCI108930
Memorial Research Center, University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920
Published January 1, 1978 - More info
The effect of corticosteroids and cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents on the excretion of Bence Jones protein was determined for periods of 1 - 62 mo in 29 patients with multiple myeloma and Bence Jones proteinuria. The amount of protein present in 24-h urine specimens collected before treatment and at frequent intervals during monthly treatment cycles was determined. Striking variations occurred in the amount of Bence Jones protein excretion; these changes were especially evident when 75 mg of prednisone were given daily for 7 days as part of a monthly chemotherapeutic regimen. Within the 7-day period seven patients showed essentially no decrease (<25%), whereas 13 and 9 patients had a moderate decrease (25-75%) or a marked decrease (>75%), respectively, in Bence Jones proteinuria as compared to pre-treatment values. The decrease in excretion of Bence Jones protein during this period was attributed mainly to corticosteroid therapy because of the transient nature of the response in most patients and the lack of such response in three patients when the hormone was omitted. Biosynthetic studies were performed to determine in vitro the effect of corticosteroids on Bence Jones protein synthesis. Plasma cells obtained from the bone marrow of 13 patients were incubated in a growth medium containing 14C-labeled lysine and isoleucine and prednisone in concentrations up to 240 μg/ml, and the amount of Bence Jones protein synthesized was determined immunochemically. No differences in viability were apparent between untreated and prednisone-treated cells. The type of response exhibited by an individual patient in the percent decrease of Bence Jones protein excreted after 7 days of prednisone treatment was comparable to the percent decrease in newly-synthesized Bence Jones protein secreted by tumor cells when cultured in the presence of prednisone at a concentration of 120 μg/ml. The marked differences in the capacity of corticosteroids to affect Bence Jones protein synthesis appear to reflect a biochemical heterogeneity among plasma cell neoplasms.