Patients with multiple myeloma with progressive disease after high-dose therapy (HDT) and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) are at an increased risk of early death from infection, according to research published in the American Journal of Hematology.1

Infection is a known risk for early death (defined as within 2 years of diagnosis) among patients with myeloma. For this population-based analysis, researchers obtained patient data from the Danish Multiple Myeloma Registry to determine causes of early death among patients treated with HDT-ASCT.

Of 613 included patients, 59 died within 2 years of diagnosis, of which 13 were within 100 days of ASCT.

At the time of death, 83.1% of deceased patients had progressive disease. Infection was the leading cause of death in all deceased patients (44.1%), though an infection was present at the time of death in 59.3% patients, regardless of immediate cause.

Among the 10 patients who died within 2 years of diagnosis without disease progression, half the deaths were due to infection.

Nearly half of the infections were pneumonia.

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The authors concluded that “the combination of PD and infection contributed to more than one third (35.6%) of all deaths. It is a well-established clinical observation that uncontrolled disease increases the risk of life-threatening infections. Patients with PD within 2 years define a subgroup with unmet medical needs.”

Reference

  1. Andersen KT, Klausen T, Abildgaard N, et al. Causes of early death in multiple myeloma patients treated with high-dose therapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation: a study based on the nationwide Danish Multiple Myeloma Registry. Am J Hematol. In press.