High dose therapy with autologous stem cell transplantation (HDT-ASCT) has prolonged survival in patients with multiple myeloma. Patients who achieve a complete response (CR) benefit the most from this form of therapy. Thus, achieving a CR is an important goal of therapy and it will be beneficial if the probability of achieving CR can be determined for any patient before transplant. Here we report that pretransplant monoclonal protein level (M-spike) was found to be an important predictor. Thus, we used knowledge of the rate of M-protein production by myeloma cells together with the clearance of the protein to estimate the pretransplant disease burden. We show that the pretransplant disease burden, based on the M-spike, is the only predictor for achieving CR. A simple function that describes this probability is presented. We also provide an estimate of the rate of tumor regrowth in patients who obtain a CR and in patients who only get a partial response with HDT-ASCT. The significant expansion of myeloma cells after HDT-ASCT is clearly evident. Clinical trials must be designed that take into account these kinetic aspects of the disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research