Multiple Myeloma, Lymphoma Respond Differently to Treatment for Anemia

Submitted by admin5 on Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:27

A comparative effectiveness study analyzed response to anemia supportive treatment for patients with multiple myeloma or lymphoma, published in Supportive Care in Cancer (online November 7, 2017; doi:10.1007/s00520-017-3948-5).

Approximately 70% of patients with blood cancers are faced with anemia as a result of treatment, resulting in health-related quality of life (QoL) being negatively impacted. Supportive care strategies are needed to address treatment-related anemia.

A group of Spanish researchers led by Pere Gascón, Hospital Clinic (Barcelona), conducted a prospective, observational study to assess the impact and effectiveness of supportive therapies in anemia for patients with multiple myeloma and lymphoma, based on patient-reported outcomes. A total of 250 patients were sampled with either disease (multiple myeloma, n = 125; lymphoma, n = 125). Patient perception of fatigue was assessed at baseline using the PERFORM questionnaire, the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Fatigue subscale, and a few other methods. Perception of fatigue was assessed again at 3 months.

Researchers noted that at baseline, 59.2% of patients with lymphoma and 56% of patients with multiple myeloma received treatment for anemia. After the 3-month period, patients in both groups experienced an increase in hemoglobin levels.

As for the fatigue at baseline, 87% of patients with lymphoma and 85% of those with multiple myeloma presented. At 3 months, fatigue scores improved in both groups for the PERFORM questionnaire.


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After analyzing the results, researchers came to the conclusion that the only common independent factor that was significantly associated with improvements in fatigue and health-related QoL was an increase in hemoglobin levels. Patients with lymphoma also benefited from improved fatigue outcomes with the decrease in transferrin saturation levels and the increase in albumin levels, suggesting the factors that impact fatigue in lymphoma and multiple myeloma are likely different.

Researchers concluded that patients with lymphoma who have moderate to severe anemia will likely have better outcomes after 3 months of receiving supportive treatment, compared with patients with multiple myeloma and anemia. “An individualized therapeutic approach according to specific disease seems desirable,” they wrote.—Zachary Bessette