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The prognostic value of circulating plasma cells in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma was examined in a recent study. 

  • Multiple myeloma prognosis can be affected by the presence of circulating plasma cells.
  • Higher levels of circulating plasma cells are linked to poorer prognosis.
  • Integrating data on circulating plasma cells could refine existing prognostic models for multiple myeloma.

A diverse array of factors influence prognosis in multiple myeloma (MM), including tumor burden, tumor biology, and sensitivity to treatment. Historically, evaluating tumor burden was performed through systems like the Durie–Salmon and International Staging Systems. The Revised International Staging System (R-ISS), introduced in 2016, incorporated tumor burden with disease biology, presenting a more holistic prognostic model. However, the discovery of the influence of circulating plasma cells (cPCs) suggests there’s still more to learn.

Probing the Prognostic Potential of Circulating Plasma Cells

In a study published in Frontiers in Oncology, researchers analyzed data from 145 newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients from November 2018 to February 2021. Using a method called 10-color flow cytometry, they found that nearly 70% of the patients had detectable cPCs. Notably, a level of 0.165% was identified as a threshold for predicting overall survival, with higher cPC levels reliably indicating a worse prognosis. These findings are suggestive of elevated bone marrow suppression, increased tumor burden, and significant organ involvement in patients with higher levels of cPCs.

Toward Comprehensive Prognostic Models in Multiple Myeloma

Incorporating cPC levels into the existing R-ISS system could lead to more accurate predictions about the disease’s progression. The complexities of MM demand adaptable prognostic models. As advancements in diagnostics and analytics continue, clinicians can better understand patient profiles. 

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