Extramedullary relapse (EMR) represents a poor prognostic marker in the course of multiple myeloma (MM). We reviewed data from 329 patients, diagnosed between 2000 and 2010, without extramedullary disease at onset to explore possible risk factors for EMR. The median overall survival of our study cohort was 6.4 years. The risk of EMR was 28 % with a median time from diagnosis to first EMR of 2.2 years (0.2-9.1 years). Patients with soft tissue masses located in extra-osseous organs (EMR-S) showed the worst outcome, compared to those with tumor masses arising from adjacent bone (EMR-B) (median OS 1.6 vs 2.4 years, p = 0.006). In addition, patients with EMR-S showed a significant trend for further development of extramedullary masses in a very short time (3.7 vs 5.7 months for EMR-B, p = 0.043). Multivariate analysis failed to identify any clinically presenting features predictive for EMR. The occurrence of EMR was higher in patients with more complex treatment history, defined on the basis of longer treatment duration (≥6 vs <6 months) and on elevated number of treatment lines administered (>2 vs ≤2 lines) (HR = 4.5, p < 0.001 and HR = 9.0, p < 0.001, respectively, when one or both factors are present).In conclusion, increasing burden of treatment might be a possible risk factor for EMR. MM patients with multiple relapses should be comprehensively investigated including, when possible, a whole-body-targeted radiologic technique to accurately detect EMR. Treatment choice should take into account the very poor outcome for patients with soft tissue involvement.
Keywords: Extramedullary; Myeloma; Novel agents; Relapse.