Multiple Myeloma in Octogenarians: Clinical Features and Outcome in the Novel Agent Era

Eur J Haematol. 2012 Jul;89(1):10-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0609.2012.01784.x.


Background: Multiple myeloma (MM) affects mainly elderly persons and because the population of octogenarians increases, it is common to treat patients ≥ 80 years of age. These patients are often not included in clinical trials; thus, there is limited data on their characteristics and treatment outcome.

Patients and methods: We retrospectively analyzed 682 consecutive, unselected patients with newly diagnosed symptomatic myeloma who started treatment between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2010.

Results: We identified 155 (23%) patients ≥ 80 years of age. Compared to patients <80 years, octogenarians had poorer performance status (P < 0.001), anemia (P = 0.006), low serum albumin (P = 0.001), and advanced ISS (P < 0.001). The median survival of patients ≥ 80 years was 22 months, and 14% died within 2 months from therapy initiation. The median survival of patients ≥ 80 years who received upfront novel agents was 26 vs. 17 months for those who did not. ECOG performance status ≤ 1 and frontline use of novel agents were independently associated with better survival. Response to first-line therapy was associated with improved survival (29 vs. 16 months, P = 0.017).

Conclusions: Patients ≥ 80 years of age present with features of advanced myeloma and impaired performance status. The addition of novel agents may improve their outcome, but careful assessment and prospective clinical trials targeting the population of elderly patients are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Myeloma / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Myeloma / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome