BACKGROUND: Patients with multiple myeloma, an incurable haematological cancer, often receive palliative care only late in their trajectory. Criteria for early referral are lacking. AIM: To identify which patients might benefit from early integration, by identifying trajectories of health-related quality of life and the determinants for declining or poor Health related quality of life . DESIGN: Prospective, longitudinal cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Multiple myeloma patients at all stages (newly diagnosed, first-line or second-line treatment, early or later treatment-free interval, refractory disease) from in- and outpatient units at 14 hospitals in England were recruited. In addition to clinical information and standardised Health related quality of life and psychological aspects, the Myeloma Patient Outcome Scale (MyPOS) measured palliative care concerns. RESULTS: A total of 238 patients were recruited, on average 3.5 years ( SD: 3.4) post-diagnosis. Latent mixture growth models identified four Health related quality of life trajectories. Classes 3 and 4 represent trajectories of stable poor Health related quality of life or declining Health related quality of life over an 8-month period. The strongest predictors of poor outcome at the end of follow-up were general symptom level (odds ratio (OR): 1.3, 95% CI: 1.0-1.6, p = 0.028), presence of clinically relevant anxiety (OR: 1.2, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0-1.4, p = 0.019), and presence of pain (OR: 1.02, 95% CI: 1.0-1.1, p = 0.018), all being more predictive than demographic or clinical characteristics. CONCLUSION: General symptom level, pain and presence of anxiety predict declining Health related quality of life in multiple myeloma. Identification of patients with palliative care needs should focus on assessing patient-reported symptoms and psychosocial well-being for identifying those at risk of deterioration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-551
Number of pages11
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • health-related quality of life
  • Multiple myeloma
  • palliative care
  • Palliative Care Outcome Scale
  • quality of life
  • symptom burden


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