North Hollywood, CA, August 5, 2015 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – announced the publication of newly revised guidelines for the International Staging System that are used to assess progression of myeloma in new patients and determine the proper course of treatment. The revisions were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Oncology, the official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
The update is the result of data collection and analysis by the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), IMF’s research arm. The IMWG consists of nearly 200 leading myeloma researchers from around the world who collaborate on projects designed to provide a more durable remission for myeloma patients, improve treatment options, and generate diagnostic systems and guidelines that prolong lives.
“The revised staging system can be used by doctors to discuss prognostic results very carefully with individual patients,” said Dr. Brian G.M. Durie, IMF and IMWG Chairman. “It’s helpful to know the expectations and consider how treatments can be modified based on the new ISS system.”
The revised guidelines, or R-ISS, adds tests for chromosomal abnormalities (CA) and serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) to the earlier ISS to refine its prognostic value in newly diagnosed myeloma patients. This updating of the myeloma classification system is part of a larger revolution in the diagnosis and treatment of myeloma – a shift toward biomarkers that are increasingly more sensitive and specific, according to Dr. Durie.
While the existing ISS relies on tests for serum beta 2 microglobulin and serum albumin to divide patients into three risk-factor stages, the JCO paper recommends adding interphase Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (iFISH) to check for CA, along with separate tests for heightened LDH. The two new tests determine more definitively if a patient is in Stage III, while conversely, per the new protocols, a Stage I patient would have normal chromosomes and LDH.
Different combinations of these tests were tried out before settling on the recommended refinement, the paper reports. The result is a stronger separation between the three strata of predicted risk for the patient, as determined by algorithms that consider all the aforementioned tests.
The report was authored by 32 IMWG myeloma researchers from around the globe, including Dr. Durie, and was led by Dr. Antonio Palumbo, Chief of the Myeloma Unit of the Department of Oncology, Division of Hematology at the University of Torino in Italy. Data from 4,445 newly diagnosed myeloma patients enrolled in 11 international trials were pooled together.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION (IMF)
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the International Myeloma Foundation reaches more than 350,000 members in 120 countries worldwide. A non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients and their families, the IMF focuses on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. To date, the IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org. Follow the IMF on Twitter @IMFmyeloma.