When are chemotherapy and immunotherapy indicated in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM)?

Updated: May 11, 2021
  • Author: Dhaval Shah, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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In patients with symptomatic MM, chemotherapy is required. In asymptomatic patients with MM, treatment is delayed until disease clinically progresses or until serum or urine levels of M protein substantially increase.

The M-component level in serum and/or urine is an indicator of the tumor burden; its reduction after chemotherapy is used as a sign of response. A 50% reduction in M-component is considered a good clinical response (according to the Chronic Leukemia-Myeloma Task Force). The historical standard regimen of melphalan plus prednisone induces a response in 50-60% of patients with MM. Disappearance of the M component on electrophoresis occurs in only 3% of patients, and cure is extraordinarily rare.

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