Summary. We evaluated the ability of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEpo) therapy, given before high-dose therapy (HDT), to allow autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) without red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. Eleven multiple myeloma patients underwent tandem HDT and autologous PBSC, receiving 500 U/kg/week rHuEpo from d 30 after initial transplant. Haemoglobin levels were 9·5 ± 1·1 g/dl and 12·5 ± 0·9 g/dl at the first and second transplant respectively (P < 0·001). RBC transfusions were required for 10/11 patients for the first transplant versus 1/11 for the second (P < 0·001). To conclude, a short course of rHuEpo therapy before HDT facilitates the performance of an autologous transplant without RBC transfusions.