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Prognosis of multiple myeloma

In 2014, there were an estimated 118,539 people living with myeloma in the United States. The earlier myeloma is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. 5.0% are diagnosed at the local stage and the 5-year survival for localized myeloma is 69.6%. The number of myeloma deaths is highest among people aged 75-84. Death rates have been falling on average 0.7% each year over 2005-2014 (1).

In most cases, multiple myeloma is still an incurable disease. The prognosis is very heterogenous. The median survival time was 3-5 years before the appearance of newer drugs (bortezomib, thalidomide, lenalidomide). There are many indications that patients now survive significantly longer from the time of diagnosis.

Factors associated with poor prognosis are:

  • High serum level of ß2 microglobulin and C-reactive protein as well as low albumin values at the time of diagnosis
  • Atypical plasma cell morphology and high proliferative activity
  • Deletions/monosomy in chromosome 13 and 17, non-hypoploidy, and specially balanced translocations such as t(4;14), t(14;16)



Five-year relative survival for patients with multiple myeloma, in percent, during the diagnosis period 1974–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway


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