Objective: To determine the clinical and laboratory features of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.
Patients and methods: Records of all patients in whom multiple myeloma was initially diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, from January 1, 1985, to December 31, 1998, were reviewed.
Results: Of the 1027 study patients, 2% were younger than 40 years, and 38% were 70 years or older. The median age was 66 years. Anemia was present initially in 73% of patients, hypercalcemia (calcium level > or = 11 mg/dL) in 13%, and a serum creatinine level of 2 mg/dL or more in 19%. The beta2-microglobulin level was increased in 75%. Serum protein electrophoresis revealed a localized band in 82% of patients, and immunoelectrophoresis or immunofixation showed a monoclonal protein in 93%. A monoclonal light chain was found in the urine in 78%. Nonsecretory myeloma was recognized in 3% of patients, whereas light-chain myeloma was present in 20%. Conventional radiographs showed an abnormality in 79%. The plasma cell labeling index was 1% or more in 34% of patients. Multivariate analysis revealed that age, plasma cell labeling index, low platelet count, serum albumin value, and the log of the creatinine value were the most important prognostic factors.
Conclusion: The median duration of survival was 33 months and did not improve from 1985 through 1998.