In patients with multiple myeloma, low subcutaneous adipose tissue at baseline may be associated with poor survival, a study published in Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma & Leukemia has shown.1

The prognosis of patients with multiple myeloma is affected by various factors, including patient age, performance status, comorbidities, lactate dehydrogenase, albumin, beta-2 microglobulin levels, and cytogenetic abnormalities. Because studies have demonstrated that a low skeletal muscle or adipose tissue mass at baseline is associated with clinical outcomes in patients with solid tumors, researchers sought to evaluate whether body composition factors influence clinical outcomes in patients with multiple myeloma.

For the study, researchers retrospectively analyzed data from 56 newly diagnosed patients with symptomatic multiple myeloma. Using computed tomography (CT) imaging, the cross-sectional area of skeletal muscles and subcutaneous or visceral adipose tissue was measured, and the body composition of each was calculated.

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Of the 56 patients, 66% had reduced skeletal muscle mass at baseline. Results showed that in patients with a subcutaneous adipose tissue index (SAI) less than the median, the 2-year overall survival rate was 58% compared with 91% among those with an SAI at the median or higher (P = .006).

In multivariate analyses, researchers found that an SAI less than the median was significantly associated with poor overall survival (HR, 4.05; P = .02); however, sarcopenia was not associated with overall survival.

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The study also demonstrated that low subcutaneous adipose tissue is associated with higher 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake, as assessed by positron emission tomography integrated with CT (PET/CT) in multiple myeloma lesions.


  1. Takeoka Y, Sakatoku K, Miura A, et al. Prognostic impact of low subcutaneous adipose tissue on survival outcome in patients with multiple myeloma [published online ahead of print May 4, 2016]. Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. doi: 10.1016/j.clml.2016.04.010.