PBMC from 11 patients with multiple myeloma (MM) were cultured in vitro in presence of IL-3 and IL-6. After 3 d, actively proliferating immunoblast-like B cells (20-62%) were apparent. After 6 d, a population of morphologically evident plasma cells was observed (30-50%) that expressed, in each individual case, the same light and heavy chain produced by bone marrow malignant plasma cells. We conclude that in MM the malignant plasma cell precursors are circulating and their growth and terminal differentiation are under the synergistic control of IL-3 and IL-6.

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