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MYELOMA AWARENESS MONTH 2012 FACT-A-DAY
Each day during Myeloma Awareness Month, we are publishing a Fact-A-Day on Facebook and Twitter. Here are the Myeloma Facts that have been published so far....
03.06.12
MYELOMA AWARENESS MONTH 2012 FACT-A-DAY
  1. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cell in the bone marrow.

  2. At diagnosis, approximately 80% of multiple myeloma patients have bone involvement; approx. one half have bone pain and 30% have collapsed vertebrae.

  3. Survival statistics for myeloma patients have doubled in the last decade.

  4. 20,000 new cases of multiple myeloma were diagnosed in the United States in 2011/2012; the global estimate of people living with myeloma is 750,000.

  5. MGUS precedes myeloma in virtually ALL cases, however NOT all MGUS becomes myeloma. Low-risk patients never get myeloma; high-risk patients get myeloma within two years.

  6. Myeloma in 2012 is a treatable disease. 95% of patients respond to novel agent/combo RX. Long term remissions (> 5 years) occur, but cure remains elusive.

  7. CRAB features identify patients with active myeloma requiring RX.

  8. Multiple myeloma occurs more commonly in men and in some racial groups, such as African-Americans.

  9. Abnormal plasma cells producing monoclonal protein (a single type of non-functional immunoglobulin) replace normal plasma cells producing functional antibodies required to fight infection. The result is hypo gamma globulinemia of normal immunoglobulins.

  10. Bence Jones protein is a light chain protein produced by myeloma cells and excreted into the urine. This is a key indicator of the light chain type of myeloma.

  11. Bone marrow biopsy can be used to determine the disease status of myeloma by showing the percent of abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells). 0% confirms bone marrow complete response (CR).

  12. Immunofixation (IFE) is used to determine if a monoclonal protein is present and the heavy and/or light chain type of the protein (IgGκ= G heavy chain/ kappa light chain).

  13. The serum-free light chain assay (sFLC) is a very sensitive test to measure light chains not bound to heavy chains. Light chain results can occur even when SPEP (serum protein electrophoresis) is negative.

  14. SFLC (Serum Free Light Chains) can be used to assess disease status in approximately 70% of patients with non-secretory myeloma in whom SPEP and UPEP are both negative.

  15. The International Staging System (ISS) can be used to give an idea of the prognosis of a patient’s multiple myeloma.

  16. X-rays remain the standard of care in the initial assessment of potential myeloma bone disease. However, other imaging (MRI &/or PET/CT) may be necessary to fully clarify bone issues.

  17. Protein electrophoresis of serum and urine is the key test for monitoring monoclonal protein levels in patients with myeloma.

  18. Bisphosphonates are drugs that bind to the surface of the bone and protect against osteoclast activity.

  19. As of 2011, the novel agents used to treat myeloma are Thalomid, VELCADE®, and Revlimid®. New agents expected to get approval in 2012 are pomalidomide and carfilzomib.

  20. There is only a weak family tendency to develop multiple myeloma in approximately 3-5% of patients.

  21. Nonsecretory multiple myeloma is characterized by the absence of a monoclonal protein in both the serum and urine.

  22. Autologous stem cell transplant is a standard treatment option for younger myeloma patients.

  23. Patients who are receiving therapy that includes VELCADE® and dexamethasone in combination with other drugs should be taking an antiviral.

  24. If on VELCADE®, patients should avoid taking alpha-lipoic acid, acetyl l-carnitine and Vitamin C on the days they receive the drug.

  25. Peripheral neuropathy can be treatment related and/or disease related.

  26. Factors associated with triggering multiple myeloma include: environmental toxins, certain types of viruses, and autoimmune diseases.

  27. A myeloma patient taking steroids should have bone density checked and restart and/or continue bisphosphonates if needed.


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ASCO 2013: Dr. Weisel - MM-003: A phase III, multicenter, randomized, open-label study of pomalidomide (POM) plus low-dose dexamethasone (LoDEX) versus high-dose dexamethasone (HiDEX) in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM).
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