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Physical activity data from patients with multiple myeloma revealed increases in activity after chemotherapy in older patients. Despite multiple myeloma causing pain related to movement, tracking patient activity using digital health technology applications proved valuable in disease management.

  • Multiple myeloma can cause pain related to movement.
  • Tracking patient activity using digital health technology applications is a useful tool in disease management.
  • More physical activity after chemotherapy was associated with improved quality of life, especially in older patients.

Patients with multiple myeloma (MM) experience painful bone-based lesions, which limits their physical movement and activity. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is a prominent concern, as people with MM are living longer, but still report some of the lowest HRQoL outcomes. Continuous treatment and the chronic nature of MM position it as a favorable candidate to study digital health technology applications, patient-reported outcomes, and functional measures of activity.

Digital health technology with actigraphy can monitor physical activity trends in patients during their chemotherapy treatments. Actigraphy measurements capture fatigue symptoms, which may result from pain experienced as a result of cancer.

Tracking Physical Activity With Wearable Devices and Mobile Apps

In this clinical study, patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who were newly diagnosed with MM were equipped with a wearable accelerometer device and mobile application that would track their activity for the 7 days before chemotherapy and continuously throughout treatment.

Overall, patient activity increased across 6 cycles of chemotherapy, especially in patients over 65 years of age. Improved patient activity was associated with improved QoL measures, increased global health status scores, and decreased disease burden scores. Despite improved QoL measures, patients’ future prospective outlook declined over the course of the study. This could be related to anxiety about the uncertainties that come with a MM diagnosis. 

The Potential of Digital Monitoring Devices in Ongoing Therapies

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This study was limited by the low percentage of participants adhering to wearing the device continuously. As a result, some passive activity data points were lost. This indicates that wearable technology may be an emotional burden if the patient is not motivated to wear it. Despite these issues, digital monitoring devices may be a promising tool for monitoring patient outcomes after initiating ongoing therapies.


Korde, N., Tavitian, E., Mastey, D., Lengfellner, J., Hevroni, G., Zarski, A., Salcedo, M., Mailankody, S., Hassoun, H., Smith, E. L., Hultcrantz, M., Shah, U., Tan, C., Diamond, B., Shah, G., Scordo, M., Lahoud, O., Chung, D. J., Landau, H., . . . Lesokhin, A. M. (2023). Association of patient activity bio-profiles with health-related quality of life in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma: a prospective observational cohort study. EClinicalMedicine, 57, 101854. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2023.101854