Autologous Transplantation for Newly Diagnosed Multiple Myeloma in the Era of Novel Agent Induction: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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The role of high-dose therapy with melphalan followed by autologous stem cell transplant (HDT/ASCT) in patients with multiple myeloma continues to be debated in the context of novel agent induction.


To perform a systematic review, conventional meta-analysis, and network meta-analysis of all phase 3 randomized clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating the role of HDT/ASCT.

Data Sources

We performed a systematic literature search of Cochrane Central, MEDLINE, and Scopus from January 2000 through April 2017 and relevant annual meeting abstracts from January 2014 to December 2016. The following search terms were used: “myeloma” combined with “autologous,” “transplant,” “myeloablative,” or “stem cell.”

Study Selection

Phase 3 RCTs comparing HDT/ASCT with standard-dose therapy (SDT) using novel agents were assessed. Studies comparing single HDT/ASCT with bortezomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone consolidation and tandem transplantation were included for network meta-analysis.

Data Extraction And Synthesis

For the random effects meta-analysis, we used hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% CIs.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary outcome was progression-free survival (PFS). Overall survival (OS), complete response, and treatment-related mortality were secondary outcomes.


A total of 4 RCTs (2421 patients) for conventional meta-analysis and 5 RCTs (3171 patients) for network meta-analysis were selected. The combined odds for complete response were 1.27 (95% CI, 0.97-1.65; P = .07) with HDT/ASCT when compared with SDT. The combined HR for PFS was 0.55 (95% CI, 0.41-0.74; P < .001) and 0.76 for OS (95% CI, 0.42-1.36; P = .20) in favor of HDT. Meta-regression showed that longer follow-up was associated with superior PFS (HR/mo, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.96-0.99; P = .03) and OS (HR/mo, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.84-0.96; P = .002). For PFS, tandem HDT/ASCT had the most favorable HR (0.49; 95% CI, 0.37-0.65) followed by single HDT/ASCT with bortezomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone (HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.37-0.76) and single HDT/ASCT alone (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.53-0.87) compared with SDT. For OS, none of the HDT/ASCT-based approaches had a significant effect on survival. Treatment-related mortality with HDT/ASCT was minimal (<1%).

Conclusions and Relevance

The results of the conventional meta-analysis and network meta-analysis of all the phase 3 RCTs showed that HDT/ASCT was associated with superior PFS with minimal toxic effects compared with SDT. Both tandem HDT/ASCT and single HDT/ASCT with bortezomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone were superior to single HDT/ASCT alone and SDT for PFS, but OS was similar across the 4 approaches. Longer follow-up may better delineate any OS benefit; however, is likely to be affected by effective postrelapse therapy.

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