Skip to Content

How long does multiple myeloma stay in remission?

The length of time that multiple myeloma stays in remission depends on a variety of factors, including the type and extent of treatment received, age and overall health of the patient, and the aggressiveness of the particular case of multiple myeloma.

Generally, remission is based on the results of blood tests and bone marrow tests. In some cases, multiple myeloma may stay in remission for many months or even years. In other cases, it may not stay in remission long at all.

Ultimately, the duration of remission may vary significantly from person to person. For some patients, multiple myeloma may remain in remission for multiple years, while in other cases, it may only stay in remission a few weeks or months.

How many times can you go into remission with multiple myeloma?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the stage of the cancer and the type and aggressiveness of the treatment. In general, the longer and more aggressive the treatment and the earlier the diagnosis, the higher the likelihood of going into remission.

When it comes to multiple myeloma, some patients can enter and maintain remission for extended periods of time, although this is not the case for everyone. It is difficult to give a definitive answer as to how many times a person can go into remission with multiple myeloma because it can vary so much for each individual.

According to the multiple myeloma patient forum Myeloma Crowd, “it all depends on stage of the disease and on the treatment options used. Some patients can go in and out of remission multiple times, while others might not go into remission at all.”

Ultimately, the best way to determine how many times a person can go into remission with multiple myeloma is to speak with a qualified healthcare professional. Together, they can assess the individual situation and develop an appropriate treatment plan to maximize the chances of going into remission.

What is considered complete remission for multiple myeloma?

Complete remission for multiple myeloma is when the patient no longer has any evidence of myeloma in their blood or bone marrow. For a patient’s myeloma to be considered in complete remission, the patient must demonstrate: 1) no more than five percent of plasma cells in the bone marrow; 2) no detectable levels of monoclonal protein (M protein); and 3) no evidence of myeloma on imaging scans, such as a CT scan or MRI.

Additionally, the patient’s levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) must be normalized.

It is important to note that having a complete or partial remission does not necessarily mean that the patient is cured of myeloma, as myeloma can relapse or recur at any time. As such, it is important for patients to continue to be monitored and receive routine follow-up care even after they have achieved a complete or partial remission.

How close are we to a cure for multiple myeloma?

There is currently no cure for multiple myeloma, but advances in research and treatment have improved the life expectancy and quality of life for those living with the disease. In recent years, there have been major advances in the treatments available for multiple myeloma.

Many of these treatments feature oral forms of chemotherapies as well as monoclonal antibodies that target the cancer cells more specifically. This has resulted in an increased survival rate and more options for treatment.

There has been recent progress in the development of targeted therapies that selectively target the malignant cells while leaving the healthy cells unharmed. Some of these targeted therapies involve the use of monoclonal antibodies and small molecule drugs.

The FDA has approved two monoclonal antibody therapies – Ninlaro and Darzalex – which have both been shown to improve survival in certain patients with multiple myeloma.

Although these treatments offer some benefit to those living with multiple myeloma, the disease is still incurable. Researchers are still exploring other potential therapies and treatments, and scientists are working to identify targets for drug development and to improve treatments for patients with difficult-to-treat and refractory multiple myeloma.

Several promising new treatments are currently in clinical trials and may provide further options for multiple myeloma patients in the future.

Why does multiple myeloma keep coming back?

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell known as a plasma cell. This type of cancer is considered incurable, and it often keeps coming back even after treatment.

The most common cause for multiple myeloma coming back is that the cancer cells have become resistant to the treatments. As a result, the body cannot eliminate all of the cancer cells, allowing some to survive and cause a relapse.

In some cases, multiple myeloma can also return if some of the cancer cells remain in certain areas where they may not be detected on scans or other tests. These hidden cancer cells can remain dormant and not cause any symptoms, but they eventually begin to multiply, leading to a relapse.

Scientists are also studying genetic factors that may contribute to multiple myeloma relapsing. Certain gene mutations can make some cancer cells more resistant to treatment and therefore more likely to survive and cause a relapse.

Ultimately, multiple myeloma is a difficult type of cancer to treat, and the likelihood of it returning remains high. However, research is ongoing, and there are emerging treatments that can help reduce the risk of relapse.

What is the treatment for relapsed multiple myeloma?

The treatment for relapsed multiple myeloma depends on a variety of individual factors such as the particular subtype, the prior treatments, and the overall health of the patient. Treatment may involve an array of medications, including those that have been used before, new types of therapies, or combinations of existing therapies.

In addition, clinical trials may offer a promising option for relapsed patients.

The most commonly used medications are proteasome inhibitors such as bortezomib, carfilzomib, and ixazomib, as well as immunomodulatory drugs like lenalidomide and thalidomide. Other treatment strategies include chemotherapy, targeted therapies (monoclonal antibodies against CD38), antibody-drug conjugates, hormone therapies, autologous stem cell transplantation, and, in some cases, high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

In relapsed settings, combinations of these treatments are often used as monotherapies may have limited efficacy. Recent research has shown that these combination therapies can significantly improve outcomes for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, despite potential added toxicity.

For eligible patients, enrollment in a clinical trial may provide access to new treatments and continued hope for a cure. Clinical trials for multiple myeloma are ongoing and may offer promising options for those who have had a relapse.

Finally, it is important to note that the prognosis and treatment strategies for multiple myeloma can change rapidly, so it is important to consult with your healthcare team regularly and keep up-to-date on the most current treatments and research.

Can you live longer than 5 years with multiple myeloma?

Yes, it is possible to live longer than 5 years with multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow. This condition is treatable, and with prompt and accurate treatment, it is possible to control the disease and live a longer, healthier life.

In general, the 5-year survival rate for multiple myeloma is about 41%, although this rate can vary according to factors such as the stage of the disease, age, and other medical conditions. There have been instances where people have been living with multiple myeloma for over 10 years.

As treatments for this condition continue to improve, the possibilities for longer survival times increase.

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are important for increasing the likelihood of living with multiple myeloma for many years. Different treatments, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy may be used to treat the condition.

Additionally, support services such as dietary and lifestyle changes, exercise, and emotional support can be beneficial. Oncologists, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals can provide insight into how long a patient may be able to live with the condition and assist in navigating the journey.

Overall, although multiple myeloma is a challenging condition, it is possible to live longer than 5 years with it. With proper medical care, lifestyle changes, and emotional support, living a longer and healthier life with multiple myeloma is possible.

Can multiple myeloma come back after stem cell transplant?

Yes, multiple myeloma can reoccur after a stem cell transplant. Even when high-dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant are successful in eliminating the cancer, myeloma can come back months or years later.

The chance of recurrence depends on a variety of factors and is often hard to predict but can range from 10-20% in the short-term to as much as 60% in the long-term. Those with a particularly high risk of recurrence include patients with extensive myeloma prior to transplant, those with high LDH levels, those who relapse within the first year after transplant and those who relapse after 4-7 years post-transplant.

A chemotherapy regimen and stem cell transplants can be used either in combination to target the cancer or one after the other to control relapsed multiple myeloma. If recurrent cancer is identified early on, additional treatments such as autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, allogeneic stem-cell transplantation, and monoclonal antibody therapy may be recommended.