Refractory myeloma is when myeloma is not responsive to therapy. Refractory myeloma may occur in patients who never see a response from their treatment therapies or it may occur in patients who do initially respond to treatment, but do not respond to treatment after relapse. It is often recommended that refractory myeloma patients seek a second opinion before beginning a new treatment regimen. Doctors at larger cancer centers in particular may have more knowledge about treating multiple myeloma and access to more clinical trials specifically for patients with relapsed or refractory disease.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options for patients with refractory myeloma. Refractory myeloma patients often have a different drug added to their treatment regimen, or a different combination of drugs may be used as a second-line therapy.