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Hematol J. 2000;1(1):28-36.

Are myeloma patients with renal failure candidates for autologous stem cell transplantation?

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Spanish Registry for Transplant in Multiple Myeloma, Grupo Español de Trasplante Hematopoyético (GETH), Spain.



Renal function is one of the most important prognostic factors in multiple myeloma (MM). Patients with renal failure are generally excluded from high dose therapy even though they display a poor prognosis with conventional chemotherapy schemes. The aim of this study was to analyze the outcome of MM patients with renal insufficiency undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), including the evaluation of the quality of PB stem cell collections, kinetics of engraftment, transplant-related mortality, response to high dose chemotherapy and survival.


From a total of 566 valuable patients included in the MM Spanish ASCT registry, three groups of patients were defined: group BA, patients with abnormal renal function at diagnosis but normal at transplant (73 cases); group BB, patients with abnormal function both at diagnosis and at transplant (14 cases); and group AA (control group, 479 cases), patients who constantly had normal renal function.


Patients from groups BA and BB presented with a significantly higher number of adverse prognostic factors, reflecting that we were dealing with high tumor MM cases, as compared with patients from group AA. The number of mononuclear cells, CD34+ cells and CFU-GM cells collected in patients with non-reversible renal insufficiency was similar to those harvested in MM patients with normal renal function. Moreover, neutrophil and platelet engraftments were identical in patients with and without renal failure (days +11 and +12, respectively). By contrast, transplant-related mortality (TRM) was significantly higher in group BB patients (29%) than in groups BA (4.1%) and AA (3.3%). In multivariate analysis only three variables showed independent influence on TRM: poor performance status (ECOG 3), hemoglobin <9.5 g/dl and serum creatinine > or =5 mg/dl. The response to high dose therapy was independent of renal function. Interestingly, 43% of patients from group BB showed an improvement in renal function (creatinine < 2 mg/dl) after transplant. The three-year overall survival from transplantation was 56, 49 and 61% for the BB, BA and AA groups, respectively, with a statistically significant difference favoring group AA (P<0.01). PFS did not differ significantly between the three groups of patients. In multivariate analysis the only unfavorable independent prognostic factors for overall survival were poor performance status either at diagnosis or at transplant, high beta(2)-microglobulin levels, and no response to transplant. According to these results, ASCT is an attractive alternative for MM patients with renal insufficiency, and it should not constitute a criterion for exclusion from transplant unless patients display poor performance status and very high creatinine levels (>5 mg/dl).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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