• multiple myeloma;
  • renal failure;
  • autologous stem cell transplantation

Data are presented on 81 multiple myeloma (MM) patients with renal failure (creatinine > 176·8 μmol/l) at the time of autologous stem cell transplantation (auto-SCT), including 38 patients on dialysis. The median age was 53 years (range: 29–69) and 26% had received more than 12 months of prior chemotherapy. CD34+ cells were mobilized with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) alone (n = 51) or chemotherapy plus G-CSF (n = 27), yielding medians of 10 and 16 × 106 CD34+ cells/kg respectively (P = 0·003). Sixty patients (27 on dialysis) received melphalan 200 mg/m2 (MEL-200). Because of excessive toxicity, the subsequent 21 patients (11 on dialysis) received MEL 140 mg/m2 (MEL-140). Thirty-one patients (38%) completed tandem auto-SCT, including 11 on dialysis. Treatment-related mortality (TRM) was 6% and 13% after the first and second auto-SCT. Median times to absolute neutrophil count (ANC) > 0·5 × 109/l and to platelets > 50 × 109/l were 11 and 41 d respectively. Non-haematological toxicities included mucositis, pneumonitis, dysrhythmias and encephalopathy. At a median follow up of 31 months, 30 patients have died. Complete remission (CR) was achieved in 21 patients (26%) after first SCT and 31 patients (38%) after tandem SCT. Two patients discontinued dialysis after SCT. Median durations of complete remission (CR) and overall survival (OS) have not been reached; probabilities of event-free survival (EFS) and OS at 3 years were 48% and 55% respectively. Dialysis dependence and MEL dose did not affect EFS or OS. Sensitive disease prior to SCT, normal albumin level and younger age were independent prognostic factors for better OS. In conclusion, renal failure had no impact on the quality of stem cell collections and did not affect engraftment. MEL-140 had an acceptable toxicity and appeared equally effective as MEL-200. In the setting of renal failure, the role of auto-SCT early in the disease course and benefits of tandem SCT require further evaluation.