Older multiple myeloma patients receiving autologous stem cell transplant achieved similar progression-free survival as younger patients, but not overall survival, according to a study presented at this month's BMT Tandem Meetings 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The BMT Tandem Meetings are the combined annual meetings of the Center for International Blood and Transplant Research (CIBMTR) and the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT). Investigators, clinicians, laboratory technicians, clinical research professionals, nurses, pharmacists, administrators and allied health professional attendees benefit from the full scientific program that addresses the most timely issues in hematopoietic cell transplantation. Transplant has historically been seen as riskier in an older population and denied to patients over 70 years old, so Duke University Medical Center researchers sought to evaluate the role of transplant and post-transplant outcomes. The researchers looked at historical data from 305 patients who underwent autologous stem cell transplant within two years of their myeloma diagnosis and only received melphalan as their pre-transplant treatment. According to Cancer Therapy Advisor, after a follow up of 3.5 years, the 5-year progression-free survival in older patients was not worse than younger patients, but the 5-year overall survival was worse in older patients than in younger patients. At At ASH 2015 we heard from many doctors that the administration and success of transplant depended greatly on fitness levels of the patient. Also important are existing health issues like heart, lung, liver and kidney functions that are more likely to be present in the over 70 population, which likely accounts for the difference. Doctors are encouraging patients to become more fit in order to minimize age-related health conditions and to increase the treatment options that patients can receive. If you need a reason to get fit, join our Muscles for Myeloma fitness challenge in honor of Myeloma Awareness Month during March and April to become as fit as you can and obtain your best care, click here to learn more and register.
about the author
Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of HealthTree Foundation (formerly Myeloma Crowd).