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Red Cell Distribution Width: A Prognostic Indicator in Newly Diagnosed Multiple Myeloma?

By: Emily Rhode
Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2022

According to the recent findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis, published in BMC Cancer, red cell distribution width may prove to be a useful prognostic biomarker for patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. According to Chunlan Huang, PhD, of the Affiliated Hospital of Southwest Medical University, Luzhou City, China, and colleagues, high red cell distribution width may act as a negative, clinically relevant predictor of prognosis in this patient population.

The investigators identified eight relevant articles that included 1,165 patients with multiple myeloma. Studies were selected based on identification of patients with multiple myeloma according to the International Myeloma Working Group 2014 diagnostic criteria, reporting of the association between red cell distribution width and overall survival and progression-free survival, and the measurement of red cell distribution width by blood-based methods without any formal treatment. All studies included the correlations between red cell distribution width and overall survival, and hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were taken directly from the studies.

The analysis revealed that elevated red cell distribution width was associated with worse overall survival in the patients with multiple myeloma (HR = 1.91; 95% CI = 1.48–2.46). No heterogeneity was detected. An analysis of the relationship between red cell distribution width and International Staging System (ISS) staging in seven of eight studies showed no correlation between the two (ISS III vs. ISS I–II; odds ratio = 1.53; 95% CI = 0.97–2.42). However, there was significant heterogeneity among the studies, the investigators noted.

However, the investigators acknowledged limitations of their study. They include the small number of eligible studies used to establish prognostic value as well as the retrospective nature of their study (possibly more susceptible to some bias). “It is hoped that more rationally designed, high-quality, multicenter studies will be conducted in the future to enrich our results further,” the authors concluded.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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