The presence of circulating plasma cells (CPCs) predicts a worse prognosis for patients with multiple myeloma, according to a study presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology.1

Prognosis after autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) varies for patients with myeloma. Researchers recruited 1113 patients who underwent ASCT between 2007 and 2015 to determine whether CPCs affect prognosis, regardless or in conjunction with cytogenic risk status.

For the 238 enrolled patients with CPCs, median progression free survival length was about half that of patients without CPCs. Five-year overall survival rate of patients with and without CPCs was 34% and 70%, respectively.

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These responses were independent of cytogenetic risk status.

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The authors conclude that the presence of CPCs is a predictor of worse progression free and overall survival for patients receiving ASCT. These results were not affected by other risk factors.

Cytogenic risk status was determined using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH); other evaluated measures of risk stratification included age, whether a patient had already relapsed, and serum creatinine levels post-transplant.


  1. Chakraborty R, Muchtar E, Kumar S, et al. The impact of circulating plasma cells at transplant on survival in multiple myeloma in the era of novel agents. Paper presented at: Fourth Annual Meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology; September 2016; Houston, TX.