Tag: Stem Cell Transplant

Send positive thoughts

I’ve been writing to Suleyman, who is in the Netherlands and is undergoing an allo stem cell transplant to treat and hopefully cure his leukemia.  He had to undergo some high dose chemo (busulfan and cyclophosphamide). He’s having a rough time, so he needs some healing thoughts sent his way.  The stem cells from his brother will take about three weeks to engraft.  I hope I can get him to send a picture!

Prognostic Factor for myeloma patients after ASCT

Multiparameter Flow Cytometric Remission Is the Most Relevant Prognostic Factor for Multiple Myeloma Patients Who Undergo Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation
Blood. 2008 Nov 15;112(10):4017-4023, B Paiva, M-B Vidriales, J Cerveró, G Mateo, JJ Pérez, MA Montalbán, A Sureda, L Montejano , NC Gutiérrez, A García de Coca, N de las Heras, MV Mateos, MC López-Berges, R García-Boyero, J Galende, J Hernández, L Palomera, D Carrera, R Martínez, J de la Rubia, A Martín, J Bladé, JJ Lahuerta, A Orfao, JF San Miguel, on behalf of the GEM/PETHEMA cooperative study groups

Minimal residual disease (MRD) assessment is standard in many hematologic malignancies but is considered investigational in multiple myeloma (MM). We report a prospective analysis of the prognostic importance of MRD detection by multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC) in 295 newly diagnosed MM patients uniformly treated in the GEM2000 protocol VBMCP/VBAD induction plus autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT).

MRD status by MFC was determined at day 100 after ASCT. Progression-free survival (PFS; median 71 vs 37 months, P < .001) and overall survival (OS; median not reached vs 89 months, P = .002) were longer in patients who were MRD negative versus MRD positive at day 100 after ASCT. Similar prognostic differentiation was seen in 147 patients who achieved immunofixation-negative complete response after ASCT. Moreover, MRD− immunofixation-negative (IFx−) patients and MRD− IFx+ patients had significantly longer PFS than MRD− IFx+ patients. Multivariate analysis identified MRD status by MF Cat day 100 after ASCT as the most important independent prognostic factor for PFS (HR = 3.64, P = .002) and OS (HR = 2.02, P = .02). Our findings demonstrate the clinical importance of MRD evaluation by MFC, and illustrate the need for further refinement of MM response criteria.

Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients of 70 Years and Older With Multiple Myeloma: Results From a Matched Pair Analysis

Thanks to Carol for finding this new study.

Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients of 70 Years and Older With Multiple Myeloma: Results From a Matched Pair Analysis
Am J Hematol. 2008 Aug 1;83(8):614-617, SK Kumar, D Dingli, MQ Lacy, A Dispenzieri, SR Hayman, FK Buadi, SV Rajkumar, SV Rajkumar, MA Gertz

Multiple myeloma (MM) accounts for 1% of all malignancies and approximately 10% of all hematologic malignancies. In the United States, an estimated 19,900 new cases of MM were diagnosed in 2007, and 10,790 patients were expected to die of this disease. Patients with MM have a median age of onset in the seventh decade of life and 3- to 4-year median survival when treated with conventional chemotherapy. Newer combination chemotherapeutic agents have not improved the survival outcome achieved with melphalan and prednisone, which have been used for >30 years. High-dose chemotherapy (HDT) followed by autologous stem cell rescue has resulted in improved survival and quality of life compared with conventional strategies. For patients with MM who qualify for HDT, this approach has become the standard of care.

Many of the larger clinical trials in which HDT was examined only included patients <65 years of age. However, a significant proportion of MM patients are >65 years. Therefore, it remains unclear whether the benefits observed in younger patients would extend to an older population. This case-controlled study evaluated the outcome of HDT in patients with MM who were >70 years.

A total of 93 patients were included in the study. All had undergone HDT and stem cell transplantation for MM. The study group included 33 patients >70 years and a matched control group of 60 patients <65 years. The baseline characteristics of the 2 groups were comparable, with the only difference being the type of conditioning regimen used. The dose of the melphalan conditioning regimen was reduced in 30% of patients in the elderly group as opposed to only 5% of patients in the younger group.

A trend toward a longer hospital stay after transplant was noted for the elderly vs the younger group (8 vs 3 days). By day 15, engraftment occurred in 94% of the elderly group vs 78% of the control group (P = .08). The adverse reactions most often seen were nausea, vomiting, hypertension, and tachycardia; no significant differences between the groups were evident. The overall response rates were 97% and 98% for the elderly and control groups, respectively. A complete response was achieved by 42% of the elderly group vs 28% of the control group. The patients were observed for a median of 27.2 and 38.3 months in the elderly and younger groups, respectively. The post-transplant median overall survival duration was 53.3 months in the younger patient group; the elderly patient group did not reach its median overall survival during follow-up. In the subset of patients receiving reduced-dose melphalan, there was no difference in time to progression or overall survival compared with
patients receiving standard-dose melphalan.

Previous trials have clearly shown a benefit of HDT in patients <65 years of age. However, investigators have not studied the benefit of HDT for patients 70 years of age and older. This study showed that patients older than 70 years have outcomes similar to those in younger patients (<65 years of age). The treatment-related mortality rate and the kinetics of engraftment were similar between the 2 study groups. Despite a greater proportion of the older group of patients receiving a reduced dose of melphalan, no significant differences were evident with respect to response rate or time to progression between the 2 groups. This retrospective study showed a benefit for patients >70 years who underwent HDT for MM. Age alone should not be the sole factor used when evaluating whether a patient is eligible to undergo HDT. Dose reduction should be considered for the older population of patients when appropriate.

IgA is pretty stable after stem cell transplant

This is a chart of my IgA values since before the SCT last summer.  I stopped Velcade and Doxil in July, 2007 and the SCT took place at the end of August. This is quantitative serum IgA in mg/dL. The test on 10/11/2007 was the first one I had after stem cell transplant.

I’ve never once regretted having the SCT, and only wish I had done it earlier. In my case, nothing was keeping the mm under control for very long. The SCT has allowed me to be off treatment for 10 months now, which is a long time for me.

Duke allows me to look at my lab results online, and I’ve been waiting to see what my m-spikes are (I have two).  So far, they’ve stayed under 0.5 g/dL when added together.  That’s so much better than the 3.4 g/dL they were back in 2003.

IgA values in mg/dL

The reference range at Duke’s lab for IgA is 46 – 287.

Hair Update

I thought I’d give a visual progress report of my hair growth.  Here’s a picture I took today.  You can compare it to one I took on October 13, 2007.

Hair growing back after stem cell transplant

Kind of weird, huh?  And, not too attractive. My hair started to fall out in September, after I had high dose chemo (melphalan) on August 28th. Some spots still look bald, even though there’s a covering of very fine, nearly invisible hair.

I had a follow up appointment at Duke today.  I won’t have any results until Wednesday afternoon.  Not anything important, anyway.  I didn’t even bother getting a copy of my CBCs. Dr. Long just told me they were completely normal. Throughout my entire MM experience, my CBC’s have hardly ever been anything but normal.

One Month Check-up

Tomorrow I’ll have my one month check-up.  It will have been a month since I was released from the Duke SCT Clinic.  I feel pretty well, with no major complaints. I’m filling a jug for them, and will have blood drawn when I get there.  Aside from CBCs, it will probably be at least a few days before I get any results.

STC soon, most likely

I saw the doctor yesterday. The chemo I had in October did nothing for me, so I need to have some more and then on to a transplant. They don’t really do many bone marrow transplants anymore. Instead, they use stem cells. It will probably be February by the time I’m admitted for my transplant. In the mean time, I’m going to try to enjoy myself as much as possible, exercise a lot more (so I can be stronger for the transplant) and do some kind of chemo, which has yet to be determined. I failed a few treatments, so there’s one choice left, pretty much (Velcade in some combo). I’m in a situation where my cancer grows whenever I’m not constantly being treated for it. Time off is great and feels wonderful, but my disease likes it too. I’m not going to lie. I worry about my dog outliving me, and what will happen to him. How can I be sure he’ll be taken care of and loved? My cat, too.

I have an appointment on December 13 to see the transplant doctor.