If you are a myeloma patient, you have to love this news. When I was diagnosed there was little data available, but I do remember a Mayo publication which said the average life expectancy was 33 months and had not changed in a decade. The new patients can now look at the new data represented in the graph below, and it looks as though the sky is the limit for survival. And if you are lucky enough to make it through the first 2 years after diagnosis, the sky IS the limit. We unfortunately still lose 30% of patients in the first 2 years, and this has not changed much in the last 10 years. This has everything to do with late diagnosis, inadequate treatment for the newly diagnosed patients. I will leave further discussion on this subject to another post. But now let us celebrate some outstanding news. For the new SEER data published on 4/15/16 CLICK HERE.
On a blog post last year I predicted this would be the year life expectancy reached 5 years, and you can view my prior prediction if you CLICK HERE. My new prediction is that in two more years life expectancy will increase by another year to 6 years.
Below is a look at the history of the survival for myeloma in the USA and my prediction.
|Year||Survival Milestones||Years Between Milestones|
|2010 (Prediction)||6 Years||2|
As you can note in the graph and list above, the pace of change has increased significantly to where we are improving life expectancy by one year, in just two years. Whereas, it took 23 years to improve survival by just one year in 1975. And if you have not noticed, the drastic increase in the rate of improvement started in the early 2000’s which coincides with the development of IMIDs (Thalomid, Revlimid) and the proteasome inhibitor (Velcade).
With 4 new drugs approved for myeloma in 2015, and two of them representing a new class of drugs (checkpoint inhibitor and monoclonal antibody), we can expect continued improvement for the patients who are fortunate enough to be diagnosed in a timely fashion. The 30% who do not make it 2 years will not share in this because of late diagnosis, wrong diagnosis, and poor first line treatment. More on this subject later.