POEMS syndrome is characterized by peripheral neuropathy (PN), a clonal plasma cell disorder (PCD), organomegaly, endocrinopathy, skin changes, edema, sclerotic bone lesions, and thrombocytosis. Based on the improved response rates observed with peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) in patients with other PCDs, autologous PBSCT may be an attractive treatment option for this syndrome. Sixteen patients with POEMS syndrome have undergone PBSCT at Mayo. Of these patients, 15 had a severe rapidly progressive sensorimotor PN (9 were wheelchair dependent) and 14 were male. Median age was 51 years (range, 19-62 years). The median number of prior therapies was 3 (range, 0-7). From first symptoms and from diagnosis of POEMS the times to transplantation were 42 months and 5 months (ranges, 8-185 months and 2-149 months), respectively. There were 15 patients who had significantly abnormal pretransplant pulmonary function tests. There was one transplant-related death. During the peritransplant period, 5 patients required intubation for respiratory compromise, including one who required intubation during his stem cell mobilization period. Another patient required noninvasive biphasic positive airway pressure throughout his course. Of the 14 evaluable patients, all have had neurologic improvement or stabilization. Other features have improved substantially. PBSCT for POEMS syndrome is effective therapy but may also be associated with significant morbidity.
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