To assess the impact of age on outcome and to analyze the projected years of life lost in patients with multiple myeloma.


Ten thousand five hundred forty-nine patients were evaluated; 6,996 patients were treated with conventional chemotherapy, and 3,553 patients were treated with high-dose therapy with autologous stem-cell transplantation.


Mean observed and relative overall survival times in the entire cohort were 3.7 and 3.9 years, respectively. Observed survival decreased steadily from 6.4 years in patients younger than age 50 years to 2.5 years in patients > or = age 80 years. A similar decrease was noted for relative survival. Higher age correlated significantly with higher International Staging System (ISS) stage. Relative excess risk of death differed significantly between 10-year age cohorts beginning from age 40 years (P < .001 for age 50 to 59 v age 40 to 49, P < .001 for age 60 to 69 v age 50 to 59, P < .001 for age 70 to 79 v age 60 to 69, and P = .009 for age > or = 80 v 70 to 79). The average years of life lost per patient was 16.8 years in the entire patient cohort and decreased steadily from 36.1 years in patients younger than 40 years old to 4.6 years in patients > or = age 80 years.


Age is associated with higher ISS stage and is an important risk factor for early mortality. Survival declined continuously by each decade from age 50 to age > or = 80 from more than 6 to less than 3 years. The average of years of life lost in patients with myeloma is higher than in many other cancers and amounts to more than 30 years in patients younger than 40 years old but decreases to less than 5 years in patients age 80 years or older.


Ludwig H, Bolejack V, Crowley J, Blad J, Miguel JS, Kyle RA, Rajkumar SV, Shimizu K, Turesson I, Westin J, Sonneveld P, Cavo M, Boccadoro M, Palumbo A, Tosi P, Harousseau JL, Attal M, Barlogie B, Stewart AK, Durie B.

J Clin Oncol. 2010 Mar 20;28(9):1599-605. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.25.2114. Epub 2010 Feb 22

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