Patient-Reported Outcomes in Multiple Myeloma

Author: Stephanie J. Lee MD, MPH 1
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  • 1 Department of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Multiple myeloma is an incurable malignancy of plasma cells. People with multiple myeloma may experience a variety of disease-related symptoms because of bony destruction, bone marrow infiltration, renal failure, immunodeficiency, and the psychosocial burden of a cancer diagnosis. Exciting new therapies and treatment approaches are becoming available but often bring unwanted side effects. Because the goal of treating multiple myeloma is still symptom palliation and prolongation of life rather than cure, it is important to consider the tradeoffs between treatment toxicity and disease control when caring for the person with myeloma. The traditional end-points of clinical trials are disease response, prolongation of disease-free and overall survival, and other objective criteria. However, subjective patient-reported measures, such as symptoms, quality of life, and functional status, are increasingly recognized as important dimensions by which to judge the impact of cancer and its treatment. In multiple myeloma, several patient-reported measures have been used to enrich our understanding of the disease's impact on patients' lives and the risks and benefits of specific treatments.

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Dr. Lee has received fees as a consultant for Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

Correspondence: Stephanie Lee, MD, MPH, Center for Outcomes and Policy Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail: stephanie_lee@dfci.harvard.edu
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