The treatment paradigm for myeloma has undergone a dramatic shift in the past decade with the introduction of the novel agents and their application at every stage of the treatment. We and others had previously shown that survival of patients with myeloma had improved in the earlier half of the last decade and attributed this to a combination of novel therapies as well as increased use of stem cell transplant. It is not clear if this momentum in improving survival has been maintained. We examined the survival trends of patients with newly diagnosed myeloma seen within the past decade to examine this question.
We studied 1056 patients with newly diagnosed myeloma, who were seen at Mayo Clinic between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2010; who were seen within 30 days of their diagnosis. For examination of the time trends, we grouped the time interval into two five year periods, 2001–2005 and 2006–2010. Survival was estimated using Kaplan Meier method and survival curves were compared by log rank test. Impact of various prognostic factors was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards test.
The median age at diagnosis was 65 (range; 22–92), and 59% were male. The median estimated follow up for the entire cohort was 4.6 years (95% CI; 4.4, 4.9) and 57% of the patients were alive at last follow up. The median overall survival (OS) for the entire cohort was 5.4 years (95% CI; 5, 6.3). The overall survival for patients in the 2001–2005 group was 4.6 years compared with not reached for the 2006–2010 cohort (P< 0.001). The five-year estimated OS was 48% for the earlier group compared with 66% for the latter group. The estimated 1-year survival was 90% for the recent cohort compared with 83% for the earlier cohort, suggesting improvements in the early mortality. Interestingly, the improvement was predominantly seen in the older age group (>65 years; 49%). The 5-year survival of the older patients improved significantly from 31% (2001–2005) to 56% (2006–2010) (P<0.001). In contrast, among younger patients (≤65 years of age), the 5-year survival improved only marginally from 63% (2001–2005) to 73% (2006–2010) (P=NS). One or more novel agents (Lenalidomide, thalidomide or bortezomib) were used as part of initial therapy in 631 (62% of 1021 in whom treatment data was available). The OS among of this group was 7.3 years (95% CI; 5.9, NR) compared with 3.8 years (95% CI; 3.1, 4.6). In a multivariate model that included both use of novel agent and the year group, only the novel agent use was associated with improved survival suggesting that the improvement in the survival is related to the increased use of novel agents in the initial therapy. No significant differences were observed between the groups in terms of conventional prognostic factors.
The current results confirm continued improvement in the overall survival of patients, even within the last 10 year period, and highlight the impact of initial therapy with novel agents. Most importantly, we demonstrate that the improved survival has primarily benefited older patients. Our study highlights that urgent need for additional new agents to provide further survival improvement for younger patients, and in order achieve a cure for this disease.
Kumar:Merck: Consultancy, Honoraria; Celgene: Research Funding; Millennium: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Cephalon: Research Funding; Genzyme: Research Funding. Dispenzieri:Celgene: Research Funding; Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Research Funding; Janssen Research & Development: Research Funding. Gertz:Binding Site: Honoraria.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.