Risk-adapted treatment of multiple myeloma (MM) includes autologous (auto-) and allogeneic (allo-) hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Case reports on extramedullary (EM) compared to bone marrow (BM) relapse after HSCT suggest a dismal prognosis. We compared the outcome of 78 MM patients relapsing after auto- (group A: n = 53) or allo- (group B: n = 25) HSCT, stratified into BM (64 patients) vs EM (14 patients) relapse. The relapse-specific groups were also compared with respect to risk factors, including age, beta2-microglobulin, pretreatment, cytogenetics and stage. EM relapse sites were lungs (5), soft tissue (4), pericardium (2), bone (1), skin (1) and CNS (1). As of May 2004, the overall (OS) and progression-free (PFS) survival after HSCT in patients relapsing from EM sites was not significantly different from BM relapse patients, both after auto- and allo-HSCT. Although MM patients relapsing from EM sites after allo-HSCT used to be regarded as having few therapeutic options, we observed encouraging responses to donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI). Treatment responses to DLIs were observed in 5/9 (56%) BM relapse patients, and in 3/4 (75%) EM relapse patients. These observations suggest that EM relapse after HSCT is common and needs an individualized diagnostic and therapeutic approach in MM during clinical follow-up after HSCT.
Bone Marrow Transplantation (2004).