Factors Impacting Return to Work after AHCT for Multiple Myeloma

A study published in Bone Marrow Transplantation evaluated whether patient characteristics impacted the timeline to return to work following autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (AHCT) for multiple myeloma (MM).

“Return to work (RTW) is a marker of functional recovery in [patients with] cancer, with quality of life, financial and social implications,” wrote the study authors. Assessment variables included socioeconomic status and working status.

The researchers assessed the timing and factors associated with RTW in a group of younger patients with MM. In total, 168 met inclusion criteria. Patients were aged 66 years or younger and had newly diagnosed MM. Patients were primarily treated with a bortezomib-based induction regimen and then proceed to undergo AHCT. Patients self-reported their socioeconomic and working status data.

More than three-quarters (78%) of patients were employed at the time of diagnosis. Employment was more frequent in younger patients; those aged a median of 55 years were more likely to be employed compared to patients aged a median of 60 years (P <0.001). Men were more frequently employed than women (59.3% vs. 34.2%; P = 0.004). At least some college education was associated with higher frequency of employment (44.8% vs. 24.4%; P = 0.008).

Of the 145 who were employed, 43 patients (30%) returned to work within a median of five months post-AHCT. The time to RTW ranged from one month to 27 months across the cohort. Having at least three children, college education, and an annual family income of >40,000€ were independent predictors of RTW.

The authors noted in their conclusion that “the frequency of RTW herein reported in [patients with] MM seems lower than reported in other malignancies. The risk factors observed may guide the design RTW programs,” the authors added.