From the Journals

Older adults with multiple myeloma face heavy burden of care



A substantial cumulative burden of treatment in the first year is borne by patients newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma (MM), according to a report published online in Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia.

MM is a disease of aging, with a median age at diagnosis of 69 years, and the burden of treatment and not just possible outcomes should be considered in decision-making discussions with patients, according to researchers Hira S. Mian, MD, of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., and colleagues.

They performed a retrospective study of a Medicare-linked database of 3,065 adults newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma (MM) between 2007-2013. The treatment burden among the patients was assessed to determine those factors associated with high treatment burden.

Heavy burden

Treatment burden was defined as the number of total days with a health care encounter (including acute care and outpatient visits), oncology and nononcology physician visits, and the number of new prescriptions within the first year following diagnosis, according to the researchers.

The study found that there was a substantial burden of treatment, including a median of more than 2 months of cumulative interactions with health care, within the first year following diagnosis. This burden was highest during the first 3 months.

Those patients who had multiple comorbidities (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.27 per 1-point increase in Charlson comorbidity index, P < .001), poor performance status (aOR 1.85, P < .001), myeloma-related end-organ damage, especially bone disease (aOR 2.28, P < .001), and those who received autologous stem cell transplant (aOR 2.41, P < .001) were more likely to have a higher treatment burden, they reported.

“Decision-making regarding treatment modalities should not just emphasize traditional parameters such as response rates and progression-free survival but should also include a discussion regarding the workload burden placed on the patient and the care partner, in order to ensure informed and patient-centered decision-making is prioritized. This may be particularly relevant among certain subgroups such as older patients with cancer who may prioritize quality of life over aggressive disease control and overall survival,” the researchers concluded.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The authors reported funding from a variety of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

SOURCE: Mian HS et al. Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2020 Oct 1. doi: 10.1016/j.clml.2020.09.010.

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