• Multiple Myeloma News
    • Jul 19, 2019

    New Tool to Predict And Prevent Blood Clots in Multiple Myeloma Patients


On July 18, the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, along with the University of Washington and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) presented new research on a preventative approach doctors can take by predicting blood clots for multiple myeloma patients. The doctors will be able to evaluate which patients will need blood thinners (anticoagulants) to prevent clots with a certain set of risk factors.

Venous blood clots (known as VTE: venous thromboembolism) are associated with immunomodulatory drug treatment (IMiD) combined with moderate-high steroid dosage. 

“VTE is common in patients with multiple myeloma receiving IMiDs, and can cause disability, delay or complicate chemotherapy, and—in rare cases—be fatal.” –Dr. Ang Li, University of Washington

The study’s senior author Kristen M. Sanfilippo, MD, MPHS was “surprised [to find] that prophylactic anticoagulation, in any form, is under-utilized despite of its inclusion in the NCCN Guidelines for Cancer-Associated VTE for more than 10 years now…”

Because IMiDs are becoming more popular as a myeloma treatment, patients and doctors should be aware of the ever-present and growing concern of VTE. Researchers encourage providers to use the new risk assessment model as a tool to help identify those patients at risk, and to take action as soon as possible. 

The researchers looked at two different databases of different patient populations (2,397 patients in total) to identify risk factors for VTE. The five factors for risk were: 

  • Prior history of VTE
  • Surgery within 90 days
  • Being 80 or older
  • High steroid doses
  • Not being Asian


 They assigned different points to each of these factors. Patients with a score of 2 or higher had VTE at 3 and 6 months at a rate of 7-12% vs. 4-7% for those with a score of one or lower.

Now that doctors know the risk factors, anti-coagulation can be more routinely used for these patients at a higher risk. 

To read the full article, click here. 

About Author

Erika Johnson

Myeloma Crowd Editorial Contributor, Nursing student, and cancer advocate.


  1. DeniseCox July 24, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    You mentioned high steroid doses as risk factors, but 40 mg/wk of dexamethazone may be a part of a typical MM combination therapy with IMiD and protease inhibitors. Could you clarify the dosages please?

  2. Geri Kartes July 25, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Although I am a 1, from the list above, periodically I have a pain running up the right side of my neck, when I take a deep breath. It usual subsides in a couple of days, but it is most concerting. Any advice or comment?

    • Jenny A
      Jenny A July 29, 2019 at 5:53 pm

      Geri, you should definitely call your doctor or nurse and let them know. You don’t want to take any risks when it comes to blood clots!

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