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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2004 Feb;33(4):381-8.

High-dose intravenous melphalan and autologous stem cell transplantation as initial therapy or following two cycles of oral chemotherapy for the treatment of AL amyloidosis: results of a prospective randomized trial.

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Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant Programs, Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


A prospective randomized trial was conducted to study the timing of high-dose intravenous melphalan and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDM/SCT) in AL amyloidosis. In all, 100 newly diagnosed patients were randomized to receive HDM/SCT, either as initial therapy (Arm-1) or following two cycles of oral melphalan and prednisone (Arm-2). The objectives of the trial were to compare survival and hematologic and clinical responses. With a median follow-up of 45 months (range 24-70), the overall survival was not significantly different between the two treatment arms (P=0.39). The hematologic response and organ system improvements after treatment did not differ between the two groups. Fewer patients received HDM/SCT in Arm-2 because of disease progression during the oral chemotherapy phase of the study, rendering them ineligible for subsequent high-dose therapy. This affected patients with cardiac involvement particularly, and led to a trend for an early survival disadvantage in Arm-2. Hence, newly diagnosed patients with AL amyloidosis eligible for HDM/SCT did not benefit from initial treatment with oral melphalan and prednisone, and there was a survival disadvantage for patients with cardiac involvement if HDM/SCT was delayed by initial oral chemotherapy.

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