The landmark IMWG paper, published in Blood Cancer Journal, identifies patients with high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma who are candidates for early therapy and clinical trials.

LOS ANGELES, CA., October 27, 2020—The International Myeloma Working Group, a body of the world’s top myeloma experts established and supported by the International Myeloma Foundation, has created a new way to identify which patients with smoldering multiple myeloma are candidates for early treatment and clinical trials. The new risk stratification model appears in the latest edition of Blood Cancer Journal

“The new model is easy to use worldwide and will have a significant impact in reducing the risk of progression and end-organ damage in patients,” said co-author S. Vincent Rajkumar, MD of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Dr. Rajkumar serves on the board of directors of the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), a global research and patient advocacy organization, and is a co-chairman of the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG). 

“Smoldering multiple myeloma” is a transitional stage of the disease, between dormant myeloma and active myeloma. Until recently, the standard of care for smoldering multiple myeloma, regardless of a patient’s risk status, has been observation only. But two randomized studies had confirmed the benefit of early treatment in reducing the risk of progression to myeloma. 

Prompted by these findings, a team of IMWG researchers, led by María-Victoria Mateos, MD, University of Salamanca, Spain, and Shaji Kumar, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, embarked on a retrospective chart review of nearly 2,000 SMM patients diagnosed after January 2004 from 75 centers in 23 countries. The goal was to identify factors that predicted the odds of a patient’s progression to myeloma in 2 years. 

The factors IMWG researchers identified were:

  • M-protein (>2 g/dL)
  • BMPCs infiltration (>20%)
  • Ratio of involved versus uninvolved sFLC (>20)

“This model enables us to offer early treatment to a more homogeneous subgroup of SMM patients and will serve as an invaluable tool in clinical trials,” said Brian G.M. Durie, MD, IMF chairman and co-chairman of the IMWG. “Its creation is an example of the strides we can make in treating myeloma when the best minds in the world work together.” 

Providing the global myeloma community with scientifically validated, critically appraised consensus guidelines and bringing together top myeloma researchers from around the world to solve complex questions surrounding the disease has been the mission of the IMWG since its founding in 2001. 

“Multiple myeloma is extraordinarily complex, and no one person can have a full understanding of the ever-growing body of knowledge,” said Dr. Rajkumar. “By pooling resources, databases, and samples we can achieve far more than we can do alone.”

About the International Myeloma Foundation
Founded in 1990, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is the first and largest foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. The Foundation's reach extends to more than 525,000 members in 140 countries worldwide. The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure by focusing on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. The IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned InfoLine. In 2012, the IMF launched the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a groundbreaking research project aimed at curing myeloma. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is Follow the IMF on Twitter @IMFmyeloma.

Debra Gendel
[email protected]

Sapna Kumar
[email protected]
818.487.7455 ext. 258


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