Therapy for multiple myeloma (MM) has markedly changed in the past decade with the introduction of new drugs, but it is not clear whether the improvements have been sustained. We studied 1038 patients diagnosed between 2001 and 2010, grouping patients into two 5-year periods by diagnosis, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010. The median estimated follow-up for the cohort was 5.9 years with 47% alive at the last follow-up. The median overall survival (OS) for the entire cohort was 5.2 years: 4.6 years for patients in the 2001-2005 group compared with 6.1 years for the 2006-2010 cohort (P=0.002). The improvement was primarily seen among patients over 65 years, the 6-year OS improving from 31 to 56%, P<0.001. Only 10% of patients died during the first year in the latter group, compared with 16% in the earlier cohort (P<0.01), suggesting improvement in early mortality. The improved outcomes were linked closely to the use of one or more new agents in initial therapy. The current results confirm continued survival improvement in MM and highlight the impact of initial therapy with novel agents. Most importantly, we demonstrate that the improved survival is benefitting older patients and that early mortality in this disease has reduced considerably.