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Am J Med. 1996 Mar;100(3):290-8.

Treatment of 100 patients with primary amyloidosis: a randomized trial of melphalan, prednisone, and colchicine versus colchicine only.

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Arthritis Center, Thorndike Memorial Laboratories, Boston City Hospital, Massachusetts, USA.



A clinical trial designed to test whether treatment with melphalan, prednisone, and colchicine (MPC) is superior to colchicine (C) alone was performed in patients with primary amyloidosis (AL), a nonmalignant plasma cell dyscrasia.


Patients were randomized to MPC or C with stratification according to sex, time from diagnosis to study entry (ie, less than 3 months or 3 to 12 months), and dominant organ system involvement (ie, cardiac, renal, neurologic, or others). Data were gathered monthly from patients, quarterly from physicians, and annually in the Clinical Research Center. One hundred consecutive patients with AL amyloidosis admitted between 1987 and 1992 who met eligibility requirements were treated and followed for a minimum of 18 months. Fifty patients (group A) received daily oral colchicine and 50 patients (group B) received cycles of oral melphalan and prednisone every 6 weeks for 1 year as well as colchicine.


The principal outcome measure was median survival, which was compared in the two treatment groups and in the subgroups. The overall survival of all patients from study entry was 8.4 months. Comparing group A (C) to group B (MPC), the survival was 6.7 months versus 12.2 months (P = 0.087). Both treatment groups had poor survival for patients in the cardiac subgroup, longest survival in the renal group, and significant differences favoring MPC treatment only in patients whose major system manifestations were neurologic (P = 0.037) or other (P = 0.007). Multivariate analysis showed a strongly significant treatment effect (P = 0.003) and improved survival associated with not having cardiac or gastrointestinal involvement.


MPC was advantageous for patients whose major manifestations of amyloid disease were other than cardiac or renal. Better survival regardless of treatment was noted in patients for whom a satisfactory supportive treatment such as transplant or dialysis exists for their organ failure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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