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20-03-2018 | Multiple myeloma | Article

Patient-reported outcomes in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma: a systematic review

Supportive Care in Cancer

Authors: Francesco Sparano, Michele Cavo, Pasquale Niscola, Tommaso Caravita, Fabio Efficace

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg



We performed a systematic review to quantify the amount of evidence-based data available on patient-reported outcomes (PRO) in Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma (RRMM) patients and to examine the added value of such studies in supporting clinical decision-making.


We conducted a search in PubMed/Medline and the Cochrane Library to identify studies published between January 1990 and May 2017. All studies, regardless of the design, including patients with RRMM and also evaluating PRO were considered. For each study, we collected both PRO and traditional clinical outcomes, such as survival and toxicity information, based on a predefined data extraction form.


After having screened 1680 records, 11 studies were identified and these included six randomized controlled trials (RCT). Overall, there were five studies focusing on proteasome inhibitors (PIs), four on immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs), one on both PIs and IMiDs, and one on monoclonal antibodies. Considering only RCTs, it was found that primary clinical efficacy endpoints frequently favored experimental arms, while (physician-reported) toxicity data did not. However, inspection of PRO data revealed novel information that often contrasted with standard toxicity, for example, by not indicating worse quality of life outcomes or symptom severity for patients enrolled in the experimental arms.


There is paucity of evidence-based data regarding the impact of therapies on quality of life and symptom burden of patients with RRMM. Inclusion of PRO in future studies of patients with RRMM is needed to better inform clinical decision-making.