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Keywords:

  • multiple myeloma;
  • high-dose melphalan;
  • anti-IL-6 monoclonal antibody;
  • autologous stem cell transplantation;
  • conditioning regimen

To improve the complete response (CR) rate in advanced multiple myeloma (MM) without increasing the toxicity of high-dose therapy, we have used a new conditioning regimen. A combination of BE-8 [an anti-interleukin 6 (IL-6) murine monoclonal antibody] and dexamethasone followed by high-dose melphalan (220 mg/m2) and autologous stem cell transplantation was used to treat a series of 16 patients with advanced multiple myeloma. A strong inhibition of IL-6 activity evaluated by quantification of C-reactive protein was observed in all patients and was correlated with the high CR rate achieved with this combination therapy.