Up-front autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) should remain the preferred treatment for younger patients who are newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma, according to results of a clinical trial reported at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The phase III, randomized study enrolled 1,266 patients aged ≤65 years and found that patients with multiple myeloma who underwent ASCT survived significantly longer without disease progression than those who received only bortezomib-based chemotherapy.
Progression-free survival (PFS) was higher among patients treated with ASCT compared with those treated with chemotherapy only (HR 0.76, 95% CI [0.61-0.94]; p=0.010) after a two-year median follow-up. The superior PFS in the ASCT patient group was seen in both low- and high-risk patients. Lead researcher Dr. Michele Cavo of Bologna University School of Medicine, Italy, concluded that “while transplant-free treatment with novel agents remains an intriguing prospect, the reality is that stem cell transplant remains a powerful and proven approach, and with novel agents playing a supporting role, it is more effective than ever.”