Extramedullary vs medullary relapse after autologous or allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in multiple myeloma (MM) and its correlation to clinical outcome

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2004 Dec;34(12):1057-65. doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1704713.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / mortality
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Transfusion
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / mortality
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / secondary*
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Transplantation, Homologous