In a nutshell
This study aimed to investigate the use of newer agents and the risk of infections in patients with multiple myeloma. This study concluded that there is a high risk of these patients developing at least one infection during treatment.
Infections are a major cause of illness and death in patients with multiple myeloma (MM). The infections are linked to therapy and disease-related factors. It has been suggested that the rate of infections has increased since newer agents have been introduced. Newer agents include thalidomide (Imunoprin) that works by stimulating the immune system to kill cancer cells and bortezomib (Velcade) that specifically targets cancer cells.
It is not known if the rate of infections has increased since newer agents have been introduced.
Methods & findings
This study involved 479 patients with MM who were followed for a 12-year period.
During this time 65% of patients developed at least one infection. 37% of therapies were associated with at least one infection. The rate of infections was constant over the years. There was no increase in infectious complications after the routine implementation of these newer agents.
Infections that occurred were mainly bacterial such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections or venous catheter infections. They were associated with high disease burden, relapsed disease, and treatment with high-dose chemotherapy.
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) reactivations occurred late during treatment. Fewer patients developed a VZV reactivation after 2009. VZV presents as chickenpox in children and reactivations lead to shingles in adults.
The bottom line
This study concluded that there is a high risk for patients with MM of developing at least one infection during treatment. The authors suggested that effective strategies are needed to prevent this complication.
The fine print
Further research regarding the prevention of infections in patients with MM is needed.
If you have concerns about infections during MM treatment, please consult your physician.
Published By :
Annals of Hematology
Jan 24, 2019
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