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Blood. 1998 May 15;91(10):3662-70.

Dose-intensive melphalan with blood stem-cell support for the treatment of AL (amyloid light-chain) amyloidosis: survival and responses in 25 patients.

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Amyloid Treatment and Research Program, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), Boston, MA. USA.


AL (amyloid light-chain) amyloidosis is an uncommon plasma cell disorder in which depositions of amyloid light-chain protein cause progressive organ failure and death in a median of 13 months. Autologous stem-cell transplantation is effective therapy for multiple myeloma and therefore, we evaluated its efficacy for AL amyloidosis. Patients with adequate cardiac, pulmonary, and renal function had stem cells mobilized with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor and were treated with dose-intensive intravenous melphalan (200 mg/m2). Response to therapy was determined by survival and improvement of performance status, complete response or persistence of the clonal plasma cell disorder, and change in the function of organs involved with amyloid at baseline. We enrolled 25 patients with a median age of 48 years (range, 29-60), all of whom had biopsy-proven amyloidosis with clonal plasma cell disorders. Twenty-two (88%) were Southwest Oncology Group performance status 1 or 2 within a year of diagnosis, and 16 (64%) had received no prior therapy. Predominant amyloid-related organ involvement was cardiac (n = 8), renal (n = 7), hepatic (n = 6), neuropathic (n = 3), and lymphatic (n = 1). Fifteen patients had one or two organ systems involved, whereas 10 had three or more involved. With a median follow-up of 24 months (12-38), 17 of 25 patients (68%) are alive, and the median survival has not been reached. Thirteen of 21 patients (62%) evaluated 3 months posttransplant had complete responses of their clonal plasma cell disorders. Currently, two thirds of the surviving patients (11 of 17) have experienced improvements of amyloid-related organ involvement in all systems, whereas 4 of 17 have stable disease. The improvement in the median performance status of the 17 survivors at follow-up (0 [range, 0-3]) is statistically significant versus baseline (2 [range, 1-3]; P < . 01). Significant negative prognostic factors with respect to overall survival include amyloid involvement of more than two major organ systems and predominant cardiac involvement. Three patients have experienced relapses of the clonal plasma cell disorder at 12 and 24 months. Dose-intensive therapy should currently be considered as the preferred therapy for patients with AL amyloidosis who meet functional criteria for autologous transplantation.

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