The prognostic role of bone turnover markers in multiple myeloma patients: The impact of their assay. A systematic review and meta-analysis

Valentina Pecoraro, Laura Roli, Luca Germagnoli, Giuseppe Banfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by the progressive destruction of bone tissue due to the uncontrolled proliferation of the immunoglobulins. The detection of bone turnover markers (BTMs) may represent a non-invasive method to assess the bone involvement and to predict the risk of bone morbidity. This systematic review evaluates clinical utility of changes in BTMs levels in MM patients and their prognostic role. Methods: We searched Medline, Embase, WOS and Scopus. All eligible articles were examined and the risk of bias was evaluated. Results about PICP, PINP, ICTP, OC, CTX, NTX, RANKL and OPG were extracted. Weighted mean difference, risk ratio and hazard ratio were pooled. Results: Thirty studies and more than 2500 patients were included in this systematic review. The majority of them (50%) used ELISA to quantify BTMs, 10 of them used RIA and only 4 did not report the information regarding the type of immunoassays. In MM patients, the concentration of NTX and ICTP increased, instead the concentrations of BAP and OC lowered when compared to healthy subjects. High levels of ICTP were predictive of bone events (RR 1.18) and they were associated to poor survival (HR 1.08). Most of the included studies were considered at high risk of bias, in fact the reporting of the results was often incomplete. Between-studies heterogeneity was high. Conclusions: BTMs measurement may be very useful in the management of MM patients, especially to evaluate the bone disease progression. They could help clinicians to identify patients at high risk of bone events and to opt for more appropriate therapy; nevertheless their high biological and analytical variability limit their implementation in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-66
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Biological variability
  • Bone turnover markers
  • Clinical decision-making
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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