Authograft Treatment May Improve Multiple Myeloma Survival Rates

Novel therapeutic approach for multiple myeloma causes shows promising total cure rates.

A new approach using an autograft to reduce tumor size shows promise in the treatment of multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow that is considered incurable with chemotherapy. The average life expectancy is 6 to 7 years.

A study led by researchers at the University of Montreal and the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital published in the journal Bone Marrow Transplantation looked at 92 patients who were diagnosed from 2001 to 2010.

Researchers used an autograft developed at Mainsonneuve-Rosemont to reduce the mass of tumors in the patients, followed by a family allograft 3 to 4 months later using an immunotherapy to clean the bone marrow of the myeloma cancerous cells.

The results of the study showed that the total cure rate was 41%, which is considered a record percentage using this approach. Patients who were in complete remission 6 months after the allograft had a 60% relapse-free survival rate. Patients who received the autograft followed by the allograft had a 20% to 25% relapse-free survival rate in the long term.

"In many hospitals, doctors have abandoned the use of allografts for multiple myeloma due to the risk of toxicity and relapse,” said lead study researcher Jean Roy, MD. “Our results, on the other hand, have led us to offer the treatment to more patients, especially younger patients and those with poorer prognoses."

The study also found that there was an extremely low mortality rate of 10% with this subsequent treatment. Although there were 50% of patients who had a recurrence of myeloma, 50% of these patients were still living 5 years after their relapse.

In the wake of the findings from the current study, new research is currently taking place with a goal of reducing the rate of multiple myeloma relapses.