The International Myeloma Working Group has defined smoldering multiple myeloma
(SMM) as the presence of 10%–60% plasma cells in the bone marrow and M-protein (IgG, IgA) ≥3 g/dL without end-organ damage (an increased calcium level, renal failure, anemia, and destructive bone lesions).
Areas of Uncertainty:
Patients considered to have SMM should not have any myeloma-defining events or amyloidosis. Different risks factors classify SMM into low-, intermediate-, or high-risk categories. The rate of progression from SMM to symptomatic myeloma is ∼10% per year during the first 5 years of diagnosis. SMM requires frequent follow-up ∼every 3 months during the first 5 years as compared to monoclonal gammopathy of undermined significance, which usually requires follow-up every 6–12 months after the first year of diagnosis.
A literature search was performed from electronic bibliographic databases: MEDLINE (Ovid SP/PubMed), EMBASE, the Cochrane Library (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews), and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and from annual meeting abstracts from inception to May 2017.
This review presents the literature and available data that support or do not support early treatment
of high-risk SMM (HR-SMM) and provides evidence-based recommendations for management of SMM patients. Despite emerging data recommending early treatment
of HR-SMM, we predict the SMM category may disappear in the near future and patients will be diagnosed with either multiple myeloma or monoclonal gammopathy of undermined significance.
Success with early therapy trials for HR-SMM is largely due to patients meeting current criteria for multiple myeloma that may have been classified as SMM and, therefore, benefitted from therapy. Based on current practices and the literature, SMM should be managed with close follow-up. Based on available data, we suggest SMM to only be treated in clinical trial settings.