Multiple Myeloma Life Expectancy

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This article first appeared on the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation website and is reprinted here with their permission.

The life expectancy of multiple myeloma patients typically varies on several factors. Multiple myeloma life expectancy may be based on prognostic information provided by multiple myeloma lab tests. Doctors may also look at median survival rates by stage of the cancer to help determine life expectancy. These prognostic indicators help determine how fast the tumor is growing, the extent of disease, the biologic make-up of the tumor, the response to therapy, and the overall health status of the individual.

Determining the levels of these prognostic tests early in the course of the disease is important, as it provides a baseline against which disease progression and response to therapy can be measured. Many tests can be performed routinely in any laboratory, whereas others are performed only in specialized laboratories or a research setting.

Test

Indication

Values Indicating a More Favorable Prognosis

Beta 2-microglobulin (ß2-microglobulin or ß2-M)

Higher levels reflect more extensive disease and poor kidney function

<3 mg/mL

Albumin level

Higher levels may indicate better prognosis

≥3.5 g/dL

Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) level

Higher levels indicate more extensive disease

Age ≤60 yrs.: 100-190 U/L 
Age >60 yrs.: 110-210 U/L

Freelite™ serum free light chain assay

Abnormal results may indicate poor prognosis (also indicates risk of progression of MGUS or asymptomatic myeloma to symptomatic myeloma)

Free light chain ratio
MGUS: 0.26-1.65
Asymptomatic myeloma: 0.125-8.0
Symptomatic myeloma: 0.03-32

Chromosome analysis (cytogenetic testing by either karyotyping or FISH)

Presence of specific abnormalities may indicate poor prognosis

Absence of abnormalities

Gene expression profiling

Presence of specific group of genes can predict low or high risk of early relapse

Personalized risk score

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