Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) is teaming up with Medidata, a provider of cloud-based solutions for clinical research, to test the use of wearable activity trackers among patients with multiple myeloma undergoing treatment for their disease, according to a recent announcement.1

The collaboration will assess the ability of these mobile activity trackers, mobile apps, and Medidata’s cloud technology platform as tools to accurately evaluate quality of life among these patients.

“We will be writing a clinical trial with 40 patients, split into 2 arms, to gauge quality of life of patients younger than 65 and 65 or older with myeloma,” Neha Korde, MD, assistant attending for the myeloma service of MSKCC in New York, New York, told Cancer Therapy Advisor.

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“We are fitting patients with activity trackers, a mobile wearable device, and getting baseline readings at around 1 to 7 days prior to chemotherapy. We will monitor the patients using trackers for up to a month during chemotherapy.”

Bone pain, bone marrow failure, renal failure, and immunodeficiency are common adverse events. A small study recently published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care showed that patients with myeloma who are undergoing disease-modifying treatment had significantly lower quality of life than the general population.2 A self-reported quality of life survey, given to 41 patients, showed that 66% of patients reported pain, 63% reported fatigue, and 51% reported dyspnea.

Using the continuous data provided by patient mobile devices, Dr Korde and colleagues will compare patients’ baseline activity with activity levels during chemotherapy, with the hope that as patients’ pain decreases with active treatment of their disease, there will be improvements in physical endurance. The researchers will also use the wearable devices to track sleep.

“A lot of patients with myeloma receive steroids as part of their treatment regimen, which we tend to give in a pulse fashion,” Dr Korde explained. “These devices will hopefully allow us to reach objective data collection, in terms of sleep patterns, on the days patients receive dexamethasone or other steroid-based regimens, and to see how those patterns change over time.”

Physicians currently have little information to regularly assess quality of life of patients with myeloma, because patients are typically seen in clinic only between chemotherapy cycles, about every 3 to 4 weeks.

“We think the trackers will help to fill in the gaps in between actual office visits,” Dr Korde said.

One recent study evaluated the use of pedometers in 32 patients, including some with myeloma, who were undergoing hematopoietic cell transplant.2 Patients completed patient-reported outcome assessments during and after transplant hospitalization that detailed symptoms, physical health, mental health, and quality of life. More severe symptoms and greater restrictions in performance of normal daily activities were negatively correlated with the number of daily steps.

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The trial at MSKCC may build on this type of study, Dr Korde said. “It is going to be interesting to see if these devices are feasible or reliable, and if they have an impact on the general routine decision-making surrounding the treatment of these patients,” Dr Korde said.


  1. Medidata collaborates with leading New York cancer center to expand the use of mHealth technology in oncology care. Medidata website. Updated July 19, 2016. Accessed July 20, 2016.
  2. Kiely F, Cran A, Finnerty D, O’Brien T. Self-reported quality of life and symptom burden in ambulatory patients with multiple myeloma on disease-modifying treatment. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2016 May 2. doi: 10.1177/1049909116646337 [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Bennett AV, Reeve BB, Basch EM, et al. Evaluation of pedometry as a patient-centered outcome in patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT): a comparison of pedometry and patient reports of symptoms, health, and quality of life. Qual Life Res. 2016;25:535-546. doi: 10.1007/s11136-015-1179-0