PD-L1 expression is associated with poor prognosis, although this relationship is unclear in bone marrow-derived haematologic malignancies, including multiple myeloma. We aimed to determine whether PD-L1 expression could predict the prognosis of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM). We evaluated 126 NDMM patients (83, retrospectively; 43, prospectively) who underwent bone marrow examinations. Bone marrow aspirates were analysed for PD-L1 expression, categorized as low or high expression, using quantitative immunofluorescence. High PD-L1 expression could independently predict poor overall survival (OS) (95% CI = 1.692–8.346) in multivariate analysis. On subgroup analysis, high PD-L1 expression was associated with poor OS (95% CI = 2.283–8.761) and progression-free survival (95% CI = 1.024–3.484) in patients who did not undergo autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) compared with those who did. High PD-L1 expression was associated with poor OS despite frontline treatments with or without immunomodulators. Thus, PD-L1 expression can be a useful prognosis predictor in NDMM patients, whereas ASCT may be used in patients with high PD-L1 expression. We developed a prognostic nomogram and found that a combination of PD-L1 expression in bone marrow plasma cells and clinical parameters (age, cytogenetics, and lactate dehydrogenase) effectively predicted NDMM prognosis. We believe that our nomogram can help identify high-risk patients and select appropriate treatments.
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