Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on treatment approaches of multiple myeloma

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Poy Theprungsirikul, MD Natalia Neparidze, MD


Cancer has been recognized as one of the major comorbidities associated with severe outcomes in the novel coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) patients. Compared to those with solid tumors and those without cancer, patients with hematologic malignancies appear to have more severe clinical outcomes and higher rate of mortality from COVID-19. This was particularly demonstrated during the early pandemic period. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed additional challenges in the management of hematologic malignancies, including establishing prompt diagnoses, providing optimal treatment while minimizing the risk and sequela of COVID-19 infection. Given these challenges, clinical practice guidelines and recommendations on management of hematologic malignancies during the COVID-19 pandemic were developed and proposed based on expert panels and individual expert opinions. Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematologic malignancy. The management of patients with multiple myeloma during the COVID-19 pandemic is extremely challenging as patients with multiple myeloma are particularly vulnerable to infections due to underlying humoral and cellular immune dysfunction, cytotoxic chemotherapy, immunotherapy, cellular therapy and steroid regimens, advanced age, and the presence of other comorbidities. In this paper, we attempt to provide a general review of clinical practice management patterns during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in patients with multiple myeloma and demonstrate how changes evolved as more knowledge was gained over time. Specifically, we review the impact of the pandemic on treatment approaches, supportive care, and vaccinations for patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, patients with stable disease, and those with precursor states like monoclonal gammopathy and smoldering multiple myeloma. During early pandemic several changes were noted in myeloma care including minor delay in time to treatment initiation and tendency to defer autologous stem cell transplant. However, after 2022, with the advent of effective vaccines and treatment strategies the severity of COVID-19 infection decreased and care of myeloma returned to usual management, incorporating transplant, CART and multiple novel immune therapy approaches. Finally, we highlight the importance of meticulous vaccination schedule for patients with myeloma for all common viral, bacterial pathogens and vaccination against COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19, COVID-19 pandemic, Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, treatment approaches, myeloma

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How to Cite
THEPRUNGSIRIKUL, Poy; NEPARIDZE, Natalia. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on treatment approaches of multiple myeloma. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 6, june 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 23 july 2024. doi:
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