Reasons for Myeloma Patients’ Resistance to Stem Cell Transplants

A study presented at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting revealed that only 2% of patients with multiple myeloma refuse autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, which is considered the standard of care. While the refusal rate is low, it still represents a missed opportunity for patients. Dr. Chakra Pani Chaulagain of the Maroone Cancer Center at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida provided a summary of the analysis, emphasizing the importance of understanding the factors contributing to refusal in order to improve access to transplantation.

The study analyzed data from over 200,000 multiple myeloma patients and identified 43,600 who were recommended to undergo transplantation. Of these patients, 98% followed through with the recommended procedure. The analysis revealed that older age and low household income were associated with increased odds of refusal. Males, African-American patients, and those residing in the South Atlantic states also had higher odds of refusing transplant. In contrast, Hispanic patients and those with private insurance had lower odds of refusal. Additionally, patients with more comorbidities tended to refuse transplantation.

The study’s findings indicate economic and geographic variations in the utilization of autologous stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma patients. This information can guide the design of future clinical studies to improve access and ensure that more patients receive the standard of care.

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