Preceding standard therapy is the likely cause of MDS after autotransplants for multiple myeloma

Rangaswamy Govindarajan, Sundar Jagannath, James T. Flick, David H. Vesole, Jeffrey Sawyer, Bart Barlogie, Guido Tricot

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141 Scopus citations


Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) have been reported after autologous transplantation (AT) for lymphoma. It is not clear whether myeloablative therapy used in conjunction with autologous transplantation contributes to the development of MDS/AML or whether the conventional chemotherapy preceding the transplant, and administered over a prolonged period, causes these secondary malignancies. To address this issue, we examined 188 patients with multiple myeloma (MM) who had received AT. 71 patients with no more than one cycle of standard chemotherapy were enrolled in our Total Therapy program, designed to avoid exposure to alkylating agents prior to peripheral blood stem cell mobilization (group 1). The median duration of pretransplant therapy in group 1 was 7.6 months and significantly shorter than the 24 months of 117 patients (group 2) with more prolonged conventional therapy (P = 0.0001). All seven patients developing MDS post-transplantation belonged to group 2 (P = 0.02); the median durations from initial therapy and first transplant were 66 months (range 38-86) and 24 months (range 9-39), respectively. Our findings provide evidence that prolonged standard-dose alkylating agent therapy prior to transplantation, rather than autotransplant-supported myeloablative treatment, is associated with development of MDS/AML. Stem cell damaging alkylator treatment should be avoided, not to compromise PBSC collection, but also to reduce the risk of treatment-related MDS/AML.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-353
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkylating agents
  • Autologous transplantation
  • High-dose chemotherapy
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes


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