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Paul G. Richardson, Jacob P. Laubach, Robert L. Schlossman, Constantine Mitsiades and Kenneth Anderson

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) and asthenia (fatigue) occur as both disease- and treatment-related complications in patients with multiple myeloma (MM). Risk factors for treatment-related PN, which has an estimated incidence of 37% to 83% among patients with MM, include therapy duration, dose intensity, cumulative dose, and the presence of preexisting neuropathy. Asthenia is the most common adverse effect of treatment, occurring in approximately 76% to 96% of patients receiving therapy. The severity of PN and asthenia can range from mild to potentially debilitating. These conditions can be dose limiting; they may interfere with optimizing duration of therapy and may also substantially affect patient quality of life. Regular screening and monitoring, combined with patient education and effective management strategies, can reduce the risk of these treatment-related complications, as well as their consequences.

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Jacob P. Laubach, Constantine S. Mitsiades, Anuj Mahindra, Marlise R. Luskin, Jacalyn Rosenblatt, Irene M. Ghobrial, Robert L. Schlossman, David Avigan, Noopur Raje, Nikhil C. Munshi, Kenneth C. Anderson and Paul G. Richardson

Despite significant progress in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM) over the past decade, this disease remains incurable and almost all patients ultimately experience relapse and become refractory to treatment over time. However, the outlook for patients with relapsed MM has improved markedly with the use of the immunomodulatory drugs thalidomide and lenalidomide, and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib. Moreover, the development of new drug classes based on preclinical rationale and the introduction of next-generation agents is likely to further expand treatment options and improve outcomes for relapsed MM.

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Jacob P. Laubach, Constantine S. Mitsiades, Anuj Mahindra, Robert L. Schlossman, Teru Hideshima, Dharminder Chauhan, Nicole A. Carreau, Irene M. Ghobrial, Noopur Raje, Nikhil C. Munshi, Kenneth C. Anderson and Paul G. Richardson

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a clonal B-cell malignancy characterized by aberrant expansion of plasma cells within bone marrow and extramedullary sites. In 2009, 20,580 new cases of MM and 10,580 deaths from the disease occurred in the United States. Treatment traditionally consists of systemic chemotherapy, with adjunctive use of radiation or surgery in selected cases associated with extramedullary disease. The therapeutic landscape in MM has changed markedly in the past decade with the introduction of the novel immunomodulatory agents thalidomide and lenalidomide, and the first-in-class proteasome inhibitor bortezomib. Although MM remains an incurable malignancy, new approaches to therapy incorporating these agents have produced significantly higher response rates and improved intervals of both progression-free and overall survival in the context of randomized, controlled trials. In aggregate, the use of novel therapies in MM has been associated with substantial improvements in patient outcome.