It is not unusual for myeloma patients to live 10 years or more. Outcomes are influenced by patient factors, such as stage of the disease, chromosome changes, age, and other medical problems. Patients should discuss individual potential outcomes with their doctors.
Click here to access myeloma survival statistics.
Measuring Treatment Response
Your doctor must monitor your response to treatment for myeloma. By measuring your progress, your doctor can see whether any changes to your therapy are needed.
Your doctor uses the following tests to measure your treatment response:
- Bone imaging studies, such as x-ray studies, MRI and PET scans
- Blood and urine tests to check blood cell counts, kidney function and myeloma-cell growth
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy to observe the pattern and amount of myeloma cells in the marrow
Treatment response, as determined by these well-established methods, is often supplemented with measurements of minimal residual disease (MRD). A number of techniques can be used to identify MRD, including
- Immunophenotyping by flow cytometry of a bone marrow aspirate. Immunophenotyping uses antibodies to look for specific proteins on the surface of cells that are unique to each cell type, allowing for identification or fingerprinting of those cells. It can help, for example, in determining whether plasma cells in the marrow are from left over myeloma, or if they are normal plasma cells.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using allele-specific oligonucleotide probes (ASO-PCR), usually on bone marrow. This is a method to make many copies by PCR of the abnormal regions of plasma cells to be able to better detect even small amounts of remaining myeloma.
- Next-generation sequencing (NGS) of either the bone marrow or blood.
Your doctor may use one of the following terms in the table below to describe your response based on your test results.
|Term Used to Describe Response||Characteristics|
|Stringent complete response||
|Very good partial response||
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's free booklet, Myeloma.