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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 19;8(8):e72635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072635. eCollection 2013.

Maintenance therapy with immunomodulatory drugs after autologous stem cell transplantation in patients with multiple myeloma: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China.



Although high-dose therapy (HDT) with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) has been confirmed to result in longer remission time than conventional chemotherapy, multiple myeloma (MM) remains incurable. Post-ASCT maintenance is considered as a strategy for obtaining durable remissions and preventing tumor progression. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) studying maintenance therapy with immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) after ASCT have shown some valuable survival improvements. This meta-analysis of RCTs therefore assesses the effect of post-ASCT IMiDs maintenance on MM patients.


We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the impact of IMiDs (thalidomide or lenalidomide) as post-ASCT maintenance therapy on the survival of newly diagnosed MM patients. The outcomes for this meta-analysis were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).


Eight RCTs enrolling 3514 patients were included for analysis. An obvious improvement in Os (hazard ratio [HR] 0.75) and a significant PFS advantage (HR 0.58) with post-ASCT IMiDs maintenance was revealed. Thalidomide maintenance after ASCT can result in significant benefit in Os (HR 0.72), particularly combined with corticosteroids (HR 0.66).


MM patients after ASCT have a significant overall survival benefit with IMiDs maintenance. IMiDs maintenance was justified for MM patients who received HDT with ASCT.

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