Original Article

Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 417-426

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Effect of general symptom level, specific adverse events, treatment patterns, and patient characteristics on health-related quality of life in patients with multiple myeloma: results of a European, multicenter cohort study

  • Karin JordanAffiliated withDepartment for Hematology/Oncology, Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Medizin IV, Universitätsklinikum Halle (Saale) Email author 
  • , Irina ProskorovskyAffiliated withEvidera
  • , Philip LewisAffiliated withMarket Access, Celgene GmbH
  • , Jack IshakAffiliated withEvidera
  • , Krista PayneAffiliated withUnited BioSource Corporation
  • , Noreen LordanAffiliated withUnited BioSource Corporation
  • , Charalampia KyriakouAffiliated withDepartment of Hematology, Northwick Park Hospital
  • , Cathy D. WilliamsAffiliated withCentre for Clinical Hematology, Nottingham University Hospital
  • , Sarah PetersAffiliated withCelgene
    • , Faith E. DaviesAffiliated withRoyal Marsden Hospital



Novel multiple myeloma (MM) therapies have increased patient longevity but are often associated with notable symptom burden. This study quantified the effect of general symptom level, specific symptoms, and treatment-related adverse events (AEs) on MM patients’ health-related quality of life (HRQoL).


The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) generic cancer questionnaire (Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30) and MM-specific questionnaire (QLQ-MY20) were used in this study to assess patients’ HRQoL. Data were collected on sociodemographics, disease and treatment history, and the presence/severity of MM-related symptoms or treatment-related AEs from patients with MM in 11 UK and German centers. Multiple regression analyses were conducted.


Of 154 patients (63 % male; mean age, 66.4 years; mean time since diagnosis, 3.7 years; 52 % currently on treatment; and 43 % with ≥1 prior MM therapy), 25, 32, 31, and 11 % were severely symptomatic, moderately symptomatic, mildly symptomatic, and asymptomatic, respectively. Fatigue (59 %), bone pain (51 %), sleepiness (36 %), hypoesthesia or paresthesia (33 %), and muscle cramps (31 %) were most commonly reported. Moderate and severe general symptom levels, bone symptoms, depression, and mental status changes were identified as strong determinants of HRQoL.


Severity, type of disease symptoms, and treatment-related AEs are important HRQoL determinants in patients with MM, allowing for targeted treatment.


Adverse events Health-related quality of life Multiple myeloma Symptoms