Management of Older and Frail Patients With Multiple Myeloma in the Portuguese Routine Clinical Practice: Deliberations and Recommendations From an Expert Panel of Hematologists

The management of older patients with Multiple Myeloma (MM) is particularly challenging due to the highly heterogeneous nature of this population, both in terms of physical and cognitive functioning. Older patients may be divided into fit, intermediate and frail, with variable abilities to tolerate treatments. A careful and correct assessment of the frailty status is thus paramount for the success of therapy and for improving outcomes. With the aging of the European population, the number of older patients with MM is rapidly growing. We hereby present the deliberations and recommendations from an expert panel of Portuguese hematologists conducted to discuss the management of this population, including how to stratify and treat older patients with MM according to their frailty status.

The use of frailty tools is critical for the development of individualized risk-adapted treatment strategies and to minimize the risk of under or overtreatment. Aggressive therapies should be used in fitter patients to improve survival outcomes, while frail patients should generally be treated with less toxic approaches to control symptoms while minimizing toxicity. In intermediate-fit patients, low-dose triplets are recommended to achieve a balance between improving survival and maintaining quality of life. The management of older patients with MM should be performed by a multidisciplinary team in view of their advanced age and high prevalence of comorbidities. The inclusion of older and frail patients in future clinical trials investigating treatment regimens for MM is crucial to evaluate treatment feasibility and to improve clinical decision making in this population.