A prognostic index for multiple myeloma

G. Grignani, P. G. Gobbi, R. Formisano, C. Pieresca, G. Ucci, S. Brugnatelli, A. Riccardi, E. Ascari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current prognostic systems have failed to identify multiple myeloma (MM) patients who require aggressive therapy. These staging systems do not reliably distinguish patients with different prognoses. This paper explores the possibility of improving the prognostic forecast in MM by considering some clinical characteristics at diagnosis together with response to first-line chemotherapy. A total of 231 patients were prospectively randomised in a multicentre trial to no therapy vs melphalan + prednisone (MP) for stage I, MP in stage II, and MP vs peptichemio, vincristine and prednisone for stage III. The clinical features of these groups were evaluated for prognostic variables predictive of overall survival by means of univariate and multivariate analysis. The independently significant variables were incorporated into a model that identified three groups of patients with different risks of death and different overall survival. Three variables retained statistical significance: the staging system proposed by the British Medical Research Council, a composite parameter integrating the percentage of bone marrow plasma cells with cytological features of the infiltrating elements (plasma cell vs plasmablast), and response to 6 months of first-line chemotherapy. These three variables led the proposal of a scoring system able to identify three different risk classes (with median overall survival of 52, 28 and 13 months respectively) and to estimate individual patient prognosis more flexibly. The proposed risk classes, drawn from both diagnostic and therapeutic parameters, are thought to be a clinical and investigational instrument for separating MM patients into comparable groups, for selecting the best available therapy and for evaluating response with respect to the disease of each new patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1107
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Histopathology
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Prognosis
  • Response to treatment
  • Staging system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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