Multiple myeloma: 2022 update on diagnosis, risk stratification, and management

Am J Hematol. 2022 Aug;97(8):1086-1107. doi: 10.1002/ajh.26590. Epub 2022 May 23.


Disease overview: Multiple myeloma accounts for approximately 10% of hematologic malignancies.

Diagnosis: The diagnosis requires ≥10% clonal bone marrow plasma cells or a biopsy-proven plasmacytoma plus evidence of one or more multiple myeloma defining events (MDE): CRAB (hypercalcemia, renal failure, anemia, or lytic bone lesions) attributable to the plasma cell disorder, bone marrow clonal plasmacytosis ≥60%, serum involved/uninvolved free light chain (FLC) ratio ≥ 100 (provided involved FLC is ≥100 mg/L), or >1 focal lesion on magnetic resonance imaging.

Risk stratification: The presence of del(17p), t(4;14), t(14;16), t(14;20), gain 1q, or p53 mutation is considered high-risk multiple myeloma. The presence of any two high risk factors is considered double-hit myeloma, and three or more high risk factors is triple-hit myeloma.

Risk-adapted initial therapy: In patients who are candidates for autologous stem cell transplantation, induction therapy consists of bortezomib, lenalidomide, dexamethasone (VRd) given for approximately 3-4 cycles followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). In high-risk patients, daratumumab, bortezomib, lenalidomide, dexamethasone (Dara-VRd) is an alternative to VRd. Selected standard-risk patients can collect stem cells, get additional cycles of induction therapy, and delay transplant until first relapse. Patients who are not candidates for transplant are treated with VRd for approximately 8-12 cycles followed by maintenance or alternatively with daratumumab, lenalidomide, dexamethasone (DRd) until progression.

Maintenance therapy: Standard-risk patients need lenalidomide maintenance, while bortezomib plus lenalidomide maintenance is needed for high-risk myeloma.

Management of relapsed disease: A triplet regimen is usually needed at relapse, with the choice of regimen varying with each successive relapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Bortezomib / therapeutic use
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Lenalidomide / therapeutic use
  • Multiple Myeloma* / diagnosis
  • Multiple Myeloma* / genetics
  • Multiple Myeloma* / therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / etiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Bortezomib
  • Dexamethasone
  • Lenalidomide