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Blood. 2012 Mar 22;119(12):2731-7. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-12-381426. Epub 2012 Feb 6.

Second malignancies after multiple myeloma: from 1960s to 2010s.

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Multiple Myeloma Section, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Based on small numbers, recent reports from 3 randomized trials have consistently demonstrated more hematologic malignancies in patients treated with lenalidomide as maintenance (vs placebo). This fact has prompted concern and highlighted the association between multiple myeloma and second malignancies. Furthermore, an excess of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) after multiple myeloma has been known for over 4 decades. Most prior studies have been restricted because of small numbers of patients, inadequate follow-up, and limitations of ascertainment of second malignancies. Although the underlying biologic mechanisms of AML/MDS after multiple myeloma are unknown, treatment-related factors are presumed to be responsible. Recently, an excess risk of AML/MDS was found among 5652 patients with IgG/IgA (but not IgM) monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, supporting a role for disease-related factors. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that polymorphisms in germline genes may contribute to a person's susceptibility to subsequent cancers, whereas the potential influence of environmental and behavioral factors remains poorly understood. This review discusses current knowledge regarding second malignancies after multiple myeloma and gives future directions for efforts designed to characterize underlying biologic mechanisms, with the goal to maximize survival and minimize the risk for second malignancies for individual patients.

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