Director's message: Mayo Clinic and multiple myeloma

Volume 4, Issue 1, 2015


Researchers continue strong history of advancing myeloma treatment.

Photograph of Robert B. Diasio, M.D., director, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

Robert B. Diasio, M.D.

March is Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, a time to focus attention on a disease that affects about 1.5 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients.

According to the National Cancer Institute, 24,000 people will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the United States this year, and more than 11,000 will die of it. Since 1975, the overall myeloma incidence has increased by about 1 percent annually. But thanks to better diagnosis and treatment, mortality rates have fallen in recent years.

I'm proud to share that researchers at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center have long had an important role in developing the understanding of this disease, establishing new definitions for diagnosis, and leading the way to new treatments.

This work began more than 50 years ago with Robert A. Kyle, M.D., whose groundbreaking work on plasma cell proliferative disorders led him to classify these disorders into three groups:

Dr. Kyle's work changed the way multiple myeloma was treated worldwide.

In this issue of Forefront, we highlight research led by another Mayo Clinic physician, Vincent S. Rajkumar, M.D., a protégé of Dr. Kyle who led the International Myeloma Working Group to update the criteria for diagnosing multiple myeloma. The new criteria promise to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma yet again.

Robert B. Diasio, M.D.
Director, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professor