Multiple Myeloma Coverage from Every Angle

Investigating Link Between Cancer-Related Fatigue and Survival in Myeloma

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Monday, October 8, 2018

A team of researchers in Japan may have uncovered a link between increased cancer-related fatigue and poorer overall and progression-free survival in newly diagnosed patients with multiple myeloma. Led by Kazuhito Suzuki, MD, of Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, this small prospective study involved 11 newly diagnosed and 5 relapsed/refractory patients.

As reported in the International Journal of Hematology, of all factors studied, only cancer-related fatigue—as evaluated by the patients themselves using a visual analog scale—was significantly linked to these survival outcomes (which were tracked only in the newly diagnosed patients). The 2-year overall survival rates in patients with and without cancer-related fatigue were 20% and 100%, respectively (P = .007). And progression-free survival in patients with cancer-related fatigue was significantly shorter than in those without (5.6 months vs. not reached; P = .05).

The types of treatment, including bortezomib, lenalidomide, and high-dose corticosteroids, did not seem to correlate with fatigue levels, nor did age, sex, stage of disease, or anemia. However, poor performance status was significantly associated with cancer-related fatigue (P = .039).

“Reactivation of viral infections has been proposed as one of the causes of [cancer-related fatigue],” noted Dr. Suzuki and colleagues. However, in their small study, they found no link of significance between reactivation of salivary human herpes virus (HHV)-6 and HHV-7 in the 16 patients. Still, the authors plan future work “to analyze [cancer-related fatigue]-related factors including cytokines and reactivation of HHV-6 and HHV-7” in a larger group of patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.

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