In a recent study, researchers identified correlations between patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and certain laboratory markers in patients with symptomatic relapsed/refractory (RR) multiple myeloma (MM). The study results were published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer.1

Patients with symptomatic MM who were included in this study were treated at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Three tests for PROs were used in this study, including the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory MM module (MDASI-MM), the single-item quality of life (SIQOL) scale, and the EuroQol-5D-5L (EQ-5D) questionnaire.

Results from PRO assessments of patients with RRMM were compared with laboratory values associated with symptomatic disease. A total of 184 patients with MM were evaluated in this cross-sectional analysis, including 141 cases with RRMM and 43 patients with non-RR multiple myeloma who served as controls. Of patients with RRMM, 64 were additionally followed for PROs in a longitudinal analysis of up to 3 months.

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Of all patients, 93% were considered symptomatic. In general, patients with RRMM showed worse SIQOL scores than control patients did, but EQ-5D scores did not significantly differ between these patient groups. Lower hemoglobin levels and higher b2-microglobulin levels were found more often with RRMM than in controls. In patients with RRMM, these laboratory features showed significant correlations with greater fatigue, pain, and muscle weakness, based on MDASI-MM metrics, in addition to significantly reduced SIQOL and EQ-5D scores.

In the longitudinal evaluation of patients with RRMM, treatment was associated with significantly greater symptom burden and negative impacts on quality of life in those who were female, had a comorbidity, had a history of MM lasting 5 or more years, or were 65 or older. 

“In conclusion, our study showed that patient experience of disease-/treatment-related symptom burden, measured by the MDASI-MM module, is a good representation of the real symptom burden in patients with ‘symptomatic’ RRMM,” wrote the researchers in their report.

Disclosures: Multiple authors declared affiliation with the pharmaceutical industry or financial interest in named products. Please refer to the original article for a full list of disclosures.


Kamal M, Wang XS, Shi Q, et al. Symptom burden and its functional impact in patients with “symptomatic” relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. Support Care Cancer. 2021;29(1):467-475. doi:10.1007/s00520-020-05493-y