Late-stage multiple myeloma refers to an advanced stage of a cancer called multiple myeloma, which affects plasma cells in the bone marrow. Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer characterized by the abnormal growth and accumulation of plasma cells in the bone marrow, leading to the production of abnormal proteins and interference with the production of normal blood cells.
In the late stage of multiple myeloma, the disease has progressed, and symptoms may be more severe. Common symptoms at this stage can include bone pain, fractures, anemia, fatigue, frequent infections, kidney problems, and weight loss. Late-stage multiple myeloma may also involve complications such as hypercalcemia (high calcium levels), spinal cord compression, and impaired kidney function.
Treatment options for late-stage multiple myeloma depend on various factors, including the overall health of the patient, the extent and aggressiveness of the disease, and the response to previous treatments. Treatment goals at this stage typically focus on managing symptoms, improving quality of life, and prolonging survival.
Some treatment options for late-stage multiple myeloma include:
Chemotherapy: High-dose chemotherapy regimens, including novel agents such as proteasome inhibitors (e.g., bortezomib, carfilzomib) and immunomodulatory drugs (e.g., lenalidomide, pomalidomide), may be used to reduce cancer cell growth and alleviate symptoms.
Stem cell transplantation: Autologous stem cell transplantation, where a patient’s own stem cells are collected and then reintroduced after high-dose chemotherapy, can be considered for eligible patients to achieve deeper remission and prolong survival.
Targeted therapies: Monoclonal antibodies, such as daratumumab and elotuzumab, and other targeted therapies, like selinexor and belantamab mafodotin, may be used to specifically target cancer cells and enhance treatment efficacy.
Radiation therapy: This treatment modality may be utilized to relieve bone pain, prevent fractures, or treat localized areas of disease, such as plasmacytomas or bone lesions.
Supportive care: Late-stage multiple myeloma often requires supportive care measures to manage symptoms and maintain quality of life. This may include pain management, bisphosphonates to strengthen bones, blood transfusions, growth factors to stimulate red blood cell production, and antibiotics to prevent or treat infections.
It’s important to note that treatment options and recommendations can vary based on individual circumstances, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional who specializes in multiple myeloma to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for late-stage disease. Clinical trials may also be an option to explore, as they can provide access to new therapies and treatments that are still under investigation.