We compared the efficacy of intensified chemotherapy followed by myeloablative therapy and autologous stem cell rescue with intensified chemotherapy alone in patients newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma. There were 261 eligible patients younger than 66 years with stage II/III multiple myeloma who were randomized after remission induction therapy with vincristine, adriamycin, dexamethasone (VAD) to receive intensified chemotherapy, that is, melphalan 140 mg/m(2) administered intravenously in 2 doses of 70 mg/m(2) (intermediate-dose melphalan [IDM]) without stem cell rescue (n = 129) or the same regimen followed by myeloablative therapy consisting of cyclophosphamide, total body irradiation, and autologous stem cell reinfusion (n = 132). Interferon-alpha-2a was given as maintenance. Of the eligible patients, 79% received both cycles of IDM and 79% of allocated patients actually received myeloablative treatment. The response rate (complete remission [CR] plus partial remission [PR]) was 88% in the intensified chemotherapy group versus 95% in the myeloablative treatment group. CR was significantly higher after myeloablative therapy (13% versus 29%; P =.002). With a median follow-up of 33 months (range, 8-65 months), the event-free survival (EFS) was not different between the treatments (median 21 months versus 22 months; P =.28). Time to progression (TTP) was significantly longer after myeloablative treatment (25 months versus 31 months; P =.04). The overall survival (OS) was not different (50 months versus 47 months; P =.41). Intensified chemotherapy followed by myeloablative therapy as first-line treatment for multiple myeloma resulted in a higher CR and a longer TTP when compared with intensified chemotherapy alone. However, it did not result in a better EFS and OS.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Segeren, C.M, Wijermans, P.W, Wittebol, S, Baars, J.W, Fibbe, W.E, Sonneveld, P, … van Oers, M.H.J. (2003). Overall and event-free survival are not improved by the use of myeloablative therapy following intensified chemotherapy in previously untreated patients with multiple myeloma: a prospective randomized phase 3 study. Blood. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/8236