Related study shows that survival decreases with age in multiple myeloma patients

-- A. Agrawal, PhD

Monday, March 8, 2010 (Last Updated: 03/09/2010)

MONDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- The presence and number of focal lesions detected by whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) strongly predicts the conversion of asymptomatic multiple myeloma to symptomatic disease, according to a study published online Feb. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In a related study in the same issue, researchers report that survival after treatment for multiple myeloma decreases with age.

Heinz Ludwig, M.D., from the Wilhelminenspital in Vienna, Austria, and colleagues examined the association between age and survival in 10,549 patients with multiple myeloma treated with conventional chemotherapy or high-dose therapy with autologous stem-cell transplantation. The researchers found that survival fell with age, from 6.4 years in patients less than 50 years old to only 2.5 years in patients 80 years and older.

Jens Hillengass, M.D., from the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and colleagues performed whole-body MRI in 149 patients with asymptomatic multiple myeloma to examine the prognostic significance of focal lesions. The researchers found that the presence of focal lesions, particularly more than one, was adversely associated with progression to symptomatic disease after adjusting for other factors.

"In conclusion, the presence of focal lesions detected in whole-body MRI, as well as their number, are highly significant adverse prognostic factors for patients with asymptomatic multiple myeloma," Hillengass and colleagues write. "We recommend performing whole-body MRI for risk stratification in this group of patients."

Authors of the first study reported several financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract - Ludwig
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Abstract - Hillengass
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Specialties Oncology
Family Practice
Internal Medicine

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