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How I treat the young patient with multiple myeloma

Sara Gandolfi, Claudia Paba Prada and Paul Richardson

Abstract

The treatment landscape for multiple myeloma has been transformed by the introduction of novel agents, including immunomodulatory drugs, proteasome inhibitors, and monoclonal antibodies. These have been shown to be more effective and generally better tolerated than conventional chemotherapy, with their introduction into clinical practice leading to improved survival. Furthermore, a better understanding of disease biology, improved diagnostic criteria, as well as the development of sensitive and specific tools for disease prognostication have contributed to better outcome. Treatment in the younger patient can now be individualized based on host and disease features with enhanced monitoring of response and use of high-sensitivity techniques for evaluating residual disease. The current standard of care has been significantly enhanced by novel agents with a paradigm shift towards optional or delayed autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) as a reasonable choice in selected patients. Conversely, extended treatment with induction of remission followed by maintenance strategies is now a standard of care, conferring prolonged disease control with more manageable toxicities in both the short and long term, as well as improved quality of life.

  • Submitted May 5, 2017.
  • Accepted June 1, 2018.