We studied 188 patients with a suspected smoldering multiple myeloma (MM) who had undergone a positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) scan as part of their clinical evaluation. PET-CT was positive (clinical radiologist interpretation of increased bone uptake and/or evidence of lytic bone destruction) in 74 patients and negative in 114 patients. Of these, 25 patients with a positive PET-CT and 97 patients with a negative PET-CT were observed without therapy and formed the study cohort (n = 122). The probability of progression to MM within 2 years was 75% in patients with a positive PET-CT observed without therapy compared with 30% in patients with a negative PET-CT; median time to progression was 21 months versus 60 months, respectively, P = 0.0008. Of 25 patients with a positive PET-CT, the probability of progression was 87% at 2 years in those with evidence of underlying osteolysis (n= 16) and 61% in patients with abnormal PET-CT uptake but no evidence of osteolysis (n = 9). Patients with positive PET-CT and evidence of underlying osteolysis have a high risk of progression to MM within 2 years when observed without therapy. These observations support recent changes to imaging requirements in the International Myeloma Working Group updated diagnostic criteria for MM.
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