Life Expectancy Rising in Multiple Myeloma, Projections Still Behind General Population By a Decade: Presented at ASCO

By Walter Alexander

CHICAGO -- June 3, 2015 -- Life expectancy has risen dramatically for patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma since the introduction of novel therapies in recent years, and is projected to rise through 2022, according to research published in conjunction with the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Life expectancy for this population, however, will still remain a decade short of the general population, said lead investigator Amar Drawid, PhD, ZS Associates, Princeton, New Jersey, in an online abstract. “Additional innovative therapies,” his team noted, “are required to bridge the life expectancy gap.”

Dr. Drawid and colleagues estimated the impact of new and emerging multiple-myeloma therapies on current and future patient outcomes.

Immunomodulatory drugs and proteasome inhibitors such as lenalidomide and bortezomib introduced in the mid-to-late 2000s “essentially transformed multiple myeloma from an acute condition to a potentially manageable chronic disease,” the team noted. Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology & End Results (SEER) database, the researchers derived historical perspective on overall survival in patients diagnosed in specific years with multiple myeloma, and performed a predictive analysis of overall survival using a patient flow model, simulating progression from clinical trials, cancer registries, demographics, and input from key opinion leaders.

The historical review demonstrated relatively constant overall-survival rates from 1973 to 2001, rising slowly with the introduction of stem-cell transplantation and thalidomide to about 20% to 30%, and then rising to nearly 45% in 2008, a 43% increase, after the introduction of novel treatments like lenalidomide and bortezomib.

The projections took into account likely benefits from second-generation protease inhibitors and immunomodulatory agents (carfilzomib and pomalidomide), and further forward, monoclonal antibodies and triplet therapies including ixazomib, elotuzumab, daratumumab, panobinostat, and SAR650984.

The predictive analysis projected that median overall survival will increase to 72 months by 2022, representing about a 67% improvement from 2008 and about a 140% improvement from 2001.

The life expectancy of a person diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2022, according this calculation, would be about 75 years. This is still, the team observed, about a decade shorter than the roughly 86-year life expectancy in the general population at a median diagnosis age of 69 years.

The researchers observed that later novel-therapy adoption patterns in Europe would likely result in similar survival trends, but with a slight delay.

[Presentation title: Impact of Novel Therapies on Multiple Myeloma Survival in the US: Current and Future Outcomes. Abstract e19536]

To read more Conference Dispatch articles, click here.