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

in survival over time. "We wanted to understand if the new therapies available to these patients would translate directly into improved survival," said lead author Shaji Kumar, MD, of the Mayo Clinic.

The first analysis studied 387 patient records to compare disease relapses before and after December 31, 2000, based on the availability of thalidomide and subsequent clinical trials of bortezomib and lenalidomide. The second analysis was conducted over a 36-year period (1971-2006) with a larger group of 2,981 patients with newly diagnosed MM. These patients were divided by date of diagnosis (before or after January 1, 1997) to understand the significance of the novel advances in MM therapies.

Study results illustrated a dramatic improvement in survival among patients diagnosed in recent years, both from the time of diagnosis and from relapse after stem cell transplantation. Among the patients in the relapse group, the researchers noted a significant improvement in overall survival for patients relapsing after 2000, compared with those relapsing before 2000 (24 vs. 12 months). Patients relapsing before 2000 were less likely to receive a prompt transplant and more likely to have relapsed disease at the time of transplant and to have had more treatment regimens prior to transplant, compared with the group who relapsed after 2000, but the improvement seen in the recent times was independent of these differences.

In the larger group of newly diagnosed MM patients, diagnosis within the last decade translated into a 50 percent improvement in overall survival (45 vs. 30 months). Though the team divided the groups into six-year intervals to understand trends throughout the 36 years, they found no significant changes in survival until the most recent six-year period. When the team examined the relative impact of age and gender, they found that patients younger than 65 benefited the most from the recent improvements and that female patients fared slightly be
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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