International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-011-0947-z Pages: 310-320

Update on risk stratification and treatment of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma

1. Mayo Clinic, Division of Hematology

Correspondence to:
S. Vincent Rajkumar
Tel: +1-507-7762040



Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematologic malignancy. Chromosomal aberrations are important prognostic determinants that influence the clinical decision-making in newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM). Patients are considered high-risk if any of the following features are detected: hypodiploidy, deletion 13 by cytogenetics, t(4;14), t(14;16), t(14;20) and/or 17 p deletion. In the absence of these features patients are considered standard risk. Outside of trials, risk-adapted therapy in the transplant-eligible high-risk patients advocates use of bortezomib-based induction therapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) and bortezomib-based maintenance therapy. High-risk, transplant-ineligible patients should also utilize bortezomib as initial therapy since it is known to overcome the poor prognosis associated with some high-risk features. The goal of therapy in high-risk patients is to attain and maintain a state of complete remission as much as possible. In contrast, the standard-risk, transplant-eligible patients may be treated with either lenalidomide–dexamethasone or bortezomib-based therapy followed by ASCT. In such patients, ASCT can also be deferred until first relapse if the patients are tolerating initial therapy well. Lenalidomide maintenance therapy in the post-transplant setting in standard-risk patients is controversial and not recommended routinely. For transplant-ineligible standard-risk patients, multiple options exist, although in the absence direct comparisons, we prefer lenalidomide plus low-dose dexamethasone over melphalan-based combinations. This review outlines evidence-based management approaches in NDMM, with a focus on risk-adapted therapy.

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