Autologous stem cell transplantation is safe and feasible in elderly patients with multiple myeloma

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Several clinical trials have shown the superiority of autologous stem cell transplantation over conventional dose therapy for patients with multiple myeloma. This treatment, however, is limited to younger patients (<65 years) owing to concerns about toxicity and treatment-related mortality (TRM) in older patients. We treated 26 elderly myeloma patients (>70 years), who received a preparative regimen of melphalan 200 mg/m2 (19 patients), melphalan 180 mg/m2 (six patients) or melphalan 140 mg/m2 (one patient). Twenty-two of the 26 patients were alive after a median follow-up of 25 months (range = 8-74). Responses (complete + partial response) were seen in 20 patients (77%), five (19%) of which were complete responses. Median PFS was 24 months, whereas median OS has not been reached. Cumulative incidence of 100-day TRM was 0%. Three-year PFS and OS were 39% (range=16-61) and 65% (range=35-83), respectively. A low serum albumin (<3.5 g/dl) was associated with a shorter PFS (P=0.02). Patients with relapsed disease at transplant, and an interval of >12 months between diagnosis and autotransplant, had a shorter OS (P=0.0004 and 0.04). HDT and autologous transplant is safe and feasible in elderly myeloma patients.

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