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Studies Attribute Recent Increase in Multiple Myeloma Survival to Novel Therapies
Date:11/1/2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Multiple myeloma is one of the most common and devastating bone marrow cancers in the U.S., but survival rates have risen dramatically over the past decade. Recent analyses suggest that this trend may be attributed to new types of drugs and aggressive therapeutic interventions such as stem cell transplantation, according to the results of two studies prepublished online in Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a neoplasm of plasma cells, a type of cell that resides in the bone marrow and produces antibody proteins. Survival rates for MM have traditionally been grim, with most patients dying within two to three years after diagnosis. However, within the last decade, a group of new therapies has been developed and approved for use in MM patients, including thalidomide (Thalidomid(R)), lenalidomide (Revlimid(R)), and bortezomib (Velcade(R)). Used alone or paired with traditional chemotherapy, these drugs have been shown to be highly effective in recently diagnosed and relapsed MM patients. Also, over the past decade high-dose chemotherapy and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation has been increasingly used for treatment of MM, especially in younger patients. Two recent studies analyzed outcomes in large populations of MM patients, comparing results with regard to diagnosis date, age, and gender.

Recent Major Improvement in Long-Term Survival of Younger Patients with Multiple Myeloma

In one study, a research team from the German Cancer Research Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York analyzed trends in five- and 10-year survival of MM patients in the U.S. to understand how new therapies and innovative approaches have translated into better survival for patients. In this large epidemiologic study, 26,523 patients diagnosed with MM in the U.S. were studied from the 1990-1992 to 2002-2004 SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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