High-dose chemotherapy with autologous hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) transplantation improves survival for patients with multiple myeloma (MM); however, most patients develop recurrent disease after undergoing transplantation, and new treatment approaches are needed. The objective of this retrospective review of autologous HPC transplantation for patients with MM was to evaluate the impact of conditioning regimens and posttransplantation therapy on survival.
The authors reviewed 112 patients with MM who received autologous HPC grafts at their institution. Between June 1992 and August 2001, 54 patients received busulfan, cyclophosphamide, and etoposide (Bu/Cy/VP-16), and 58 patients received high-dose melphalan (MEL-200) followed by autologous HPC transplantation. After transplantation, 36 patients received thalidomide for maintenance or salvage therapy, and 76 patients received no posttransplantation thalidomide.
At a median follow-up of 58 months, the median survival was 54 months. There was no statistically significant difference noted with regard to response to conditioning regimen, progression-free survival, or overall survival between the Bu/Cy/VP-16 and MEL-200 cohorts. Patients who received thalidomide after transplantation had improved median survival (65.5 months) compared with patients who did not receive thalidomide (44.5 months; P = .09). When they were separated according to reasons for thalidomide use, patients who received thalidomide as maintenance had improved overall survival compared with patients who received thalidomide as salvage (65 months vs. 54 months; P = .05).
Combination chemotherapy provided no advantage over high-dose melphalan in patients with MM who underwent autologous HPC transplantation. The posttransplantation use of thalidomide seemed to improve the survival of patients compared with historical controls from the prethalidomide era. Further prospective trials are underway to confirm the benefit of thalidomide in the posttransplantation setting. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.