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Volume 42, Issue 11 , Pages 1591-1600, July 2006 by the EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CANCER
Ulrich Denz, Peter S. Haas, Ralph Wäsch, Hermann Einsele, Monika Engelhardt

Treatment for multiple myeloma (MM) has changed beyond recognition in the past decades. While until the early 1980s, MM caused a slow progressive decline in quality of life until death after about two years, today’s patients can expect a 50% chance of achieving a complete remission, a median survival time of five years and a 20% chance of surviving longer than ten years. State of the art therapy comprises: evidence-based supportive care; highly effective and well tolerated chemotherapeutic regimens; and for patients qualifying for intensive high-dose conditioning, autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is an option. Maintenance therapy has become increasingly important since a majority of patients is able to achieve a good remission after front-line therapy which is aimed to be preserved as long as possible. In addition, improved understanding of the disease biology has led to the development of novel biological treatment agents, such as thalidomide, bortezomib and others, targeted at cellular mechanisms and interactions, e.g. with the bone marrow microenvironment. These strategies are incrementally integrated into modern MM care. This review considers recent clinical advancements in anti-myeloma strategies and provides an overview of the state of the art management of MM patients.

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