Detection of Skeletal Lesions by Whole Body Multidetector Computed Tomography in Multiple Myeloma has no Impact on Long-Term Outcomes Post Autologous Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Baldeep Wirk, Charles H. Bush, Wei Hou, Leslie Pettiford, Jan S. Moreb


Background: Multiple myeloma (MM), a plasma cell malignancy, is the most common cancer to involve the skeleton. Skeletal related events such as pathologic fractures and lytic bone lesions have been associated with poor prognosis.Whole body multidetector computed tomography (WBCT) has been shown to be the most sensitive imaging modality in detecting small osteolytic lesions (< 5 mm) in the spine. The significance of lytic lesions detected only by CT is unknown as is their impact on overall survival of MM. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of lytic bone lesions seen only by WBCT on progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in MM patients after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT).

Methods: We evaluated 72 patients who had WBCT and conventional radiographic skeletal survey (CSS) after initial or salvage chemotherapy prior to HCT.

Results: Forty-one patients (57%) had more findings on WBCT than CSS, 31 patients (43%) had no differences in the two imaging techniques, 9 patients had no bone lesions on either modality, and 5 patients had lesions only identified by WBCT and not on CSS. PFS and OS were similar in patients with lesions seen by CSS irrespective of whether additional lesions were noted by WBCT; similarly, in patients without lesions on CSS, OS and PFS were better than patients with lytic lesions, but detection of occult lesions by WBCT did not adversely affect PFS or OS.

Conclusions: Our study shows that although WBCT is more sensitive in defining existing myelomatous bony disease in MM, these additional findings may not have any impact on PFS and OS of MM patients. Only patients without any bone lesions on conventional skeletal survey had significantly better PFS and OS. This suggests CSS remains the gold standard for evaluating myeloma bone disease.

World J Oncol. 2012;3(4):147-157


Whole-body CT; Multiple myeloma; Bone disease

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