Detecting Bone Disease in Multiple Myeloma Patients

With approximately 80% to 90% of multiple myeloma patients developing osteolytic bone lesions at some point during the course of their disease, it is important for oncologists to monitor these patients, and to design and administer appropriate bone health treatments at the earliest stages, in an effort to prevent or minimize the effects of skeletal-related events (SREs).
For many years, the standard method of assessing the extent of bone disease in multiple myeloma patients has been a skeletal survey, which consists of a series of x-rays across the whole skeletal system that can detect “punched out” lesions caused by multiple myeloma. This method detects approximately 80% of cases of myeloma that have metastasized to the bone.
However, not only does this method not catch every case of bone disease, it only detects them if lytic bone disease has caused at least 30% of the trabecular bone to be lost. Likewise, it is not sensitive enough to assess how patients respond to therapies designed to prevent SREs or maintain bone mass.