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Treatment options in multiple myeloma (MM) are increasing with the introduction of complex multi-novel-agent-based regimens investigated in randomized clinical trials. However, application in the real-world setting, including feasibility of and adherence to these regimens, may be limited due to varying patient-, treatment-, and disease-related factors. Furthermore, approximately 40% of real-world MM patients do not meet the criteria for phase 3 studies on which approvals are based, resulting in a lack of representative phase 3 data for these patients. Therefore, treatment decisions must be tailored based on additional considerations beyond clinical trial efficacy and safety, such as treatment feasibility (including frequency of clinic/hospital attendance), tolerability, effects on quality of life (QoL), and impact of comorbidities. There are multiple factors of importance to real-world MM patients, including disease symptoms, treatment burden and toxicities, ability to participate in daily activities, financial burden, access to treatment and treatment centers, and convenience of treatment. All of these factors are drivers of QoL and treatment satisfaction/compliance. Importantly, given the heterogeneity of MM, individual patients may have different perspectives regarding the most relevant considerations and goals of their treatment. Patient perspectives/goals may also change as they move through their treatment course. Thus, the 'efficacy' of treatment means different things to different patients, and treatment decision-making in the context of personalized medicine must be guided by an individual's composite definition of what constitutes the best treatment choice. This review summarizes the various factors of importance and practical issues that must be considered when determining real-world treatment choices. It assesses the current instruments, methodologies, and recent initiatives for analyzing the MM patient experience. Finally, it suggests options for enhancing data collection on patients and treatments to provide a more holistic definition of the effectiveness of a regimen in the real-world setting.

Original publication




Journal article


Blood Cancer J

Publication Date





Antineoplastic Agents, Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic, Disease Management, Humans, Multiple Myeloma, Quality of Life, Treatment Outcome