Age is not a prognostic variable with autotransplants for multiple myeloma

D. S. Siegel, K. R. Desikan, J. Mehta, S. Singhal, A. Fassas, N. Munshi, E. Anaissie, S. Naucke, D. Ayers, D. Spoon, D. Vesole, G. Tricot, B. Barlogie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


Multiple myeloma (MM) typically afflicts elderly patients with a median age of 65 years. However, while recently shown to provide superior outcome to standard treatment, high-dose therapy (HDT) has usually been limited to patients up to 65 years. Among 550 patients with MM and a minimum follow-up of 18 months, 49 aged ≥65 years were identified (median age, 67; range, 65 to 76 years). Their outcome was compared with 49 younger pair mates (median, 52; range, 37 to 64 years) selected among the remaining 501 younger patients (<65 years) matched for five previously recognized critical prognostic factors (cytogenetics, β2-microglobulin, C-reactive protein, albumin, creatinine). Nearly one half had been treated for more than I year with standard therapy and about one third had refractory MM. All patients received high-dose melphalan-based therapy; 76% of the younger and 65% of the older group completed a second transplant (P= .3). Sufficient peripheral blood stem cells to support two HDT cycles (CD34 > 5 x 106/kg) were available in 83% of younger and 73% of older patients (P = .2). After HDT, hematopoietic recovery to critical levels of granulocytes (>500/μL) and of platelets (>50,000/μL) proceeded at comparable rates among younger and older subjects with both first and second HDT. The frequency of extramedullary toxicities was comparable. Treatment-related mortality with the first HDT cycle was 2% in younger and 8% among older subjects, whereas no mortality was encountered with the second transplant procedure. Comparing younger/older subjects, median durations of event-free and overall survival were 2.8/1.5 years (P = .2) and 4.8/3.3 years (P = .4). Multivariate analysis showed pretransplant cytogenetics and microglobulin levels as critical prognostic features for both event-free and overall survival, whereas age was insignificant for both endpoints (P= .2/.8). Thus, age is not a biologically adverse parameter for patients with MM receiving high-dose melphalan-based therapy with peripheral blood stem cell support and, hence, should not constitute an exclusion criterion for participation in what appears to be superior therapy for symptomatic MM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-54
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


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