As multiple myeloma (MM) treatments evolve, frequent updates are required to monitor the long-term effect of changes in approach. Traditionally, MM is considered an incurable disease, with most patients eventually relapsing. However, improvements in treatments has raised the possibility that MM might be functionally curable. To examine improvements in long-term survival, we followed 4329 patients with newly diagnosed MM treated with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences from 1989 through 2018. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier analysis, Cox proportional hazards models, relative survival analysis, and cure modeling among different time periods, risk groups, and demographic traits. Steady improvements in OS were found, with patients treated in 2014 or later having superior OS (hazard ratio, 0.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.27-0.45) and reduced excess risk for MM death (relative excess risk, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.22-0.41) compared with patients treated in 1997 or earlier. Patients treated during intervening time periods often had intermediate survival, but trends in OS, PFS, and landmarked analyses were inconsistent. Cure models support the potential for cure, ranging from 6.3% to 31.3%, depending on the year of treatment, with 10.0% to 18.6% of patients achieving their normal life expectancy across multiple periods. There was some evidence of reductions in early mortality within 3 years of diagnosis, longer complete response (CR) duration, and reductions in relapse after achieving CR. However, results differed depending on age, risk group, and cytogenetic characteristics.
© 2020 by The American Society of Hematology.