Long-term survivors after autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (APBSCT) for lymphoma or Hodgkin's disease are known to have a high risk of developing myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), but the risk of MDS is not clear for patients transplanted for myeloma. We reviewed the outcomes for 82 myeloma patients who underwent APBSCT at our center. The group included 47 men and 35 women of median age 56 years (range: 37-74 years). Median time from diagnosis to APBSCT was 8.2 months (range: 2.6-86.1 months). Before coming to transplantation, 28% had received oral melphalan (MEL), 98% received other chemotherapy and 34% received radiation. A single APBSCT was provided for 68, and 32% underwent APBSCT more than once. High-dose MEL alone was used as the preparative regimen for 83%, and the remainder received at least one APBSCT with a more intensive preparative regimen. Ten patients (12%) developed MDS. The 5-year cumulative incidence is 18% (95% confidence interval, 9-30%). There were no demographic factors associated with an increased risk of developing MDS. Median survival after the diagnosis of MDS was 18 months. There is a relatively high risk of MDS after APBSCT for myeloma, and optimal therapy has not been established for these patients.
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The preparative regimen, use of maintenance therapy and additional treatment after transplantation were also not associated with the development of MDS in our cohort. However, given the heterogeneity of the population, the number of patients studied may have been too small to detect a significant factor. We did note that most of our patients with MDS fell below the median with regard to mobilization rate and CD34 cell dose, suggesting a pre-existing marrow abnormality. This hypothesis was supported by the rather short time from transplantation to diagnosis of MDS in our patients (median 31 months).