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Comparative efficacy of tandem autologous versus autologous followed by allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Mohamed A Kharfan-Dabaja12, Mehdi Hamadani3, Tea Reljic4, Taiga Nishihori1, William Bensinger5, Benjamin Djulbegovic467 and Ambuj Kumar467*

Author Affiliations

1 Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center/University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA

2 Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

3 Osborn Hematopoietic Malignancy and Transplantation Program, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA

4 Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and Health Outcomes Research, University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, MDC 27, Tampa, FL, 33612, USA

5 Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, WA, USA

6 Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA

7 Department of Hematologic Malignancies, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA

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Journal of Hematology & Oncology 2013, 6:2  doi:10.1186/1756-8722-6-2

Published: 4 January 2013



Despite advances in understanding of clinical, genetic, and molecular aspects of multiple myeloma (MM) and availability of more effective therapies, MM remains incurable. The autologous-allogeneic (auto-allo) hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) strategy is based on combining cytoreduction from high-dose (chemo- or chemoradio)-therapy with adoptive immunotherapy. However, conflicting results have been reported when an auto-allo HCT approach is compared to tandem autologous (auto-auto) HCT. A previously published meta-analysis has been reported; however, it suffers from serious methodological flaws.


A systematic search identified 152 publications, of which five studies (enrolling 1538 patients) met inclusion criteria. All studies eligible for inclusion utilized biologic randomization.


Assessing response rates by achievement of at least a very good partial response did not differ among the treatment arms [risk ratio (RR) (95% CI) = 0.97 (0.87-1.09), p = 0.66]; but complete remission was higher in the auto-allo HCT arm [RR = 1.65 (1.25-2.19), p = 0.0005]. Event-free survival did not differ between auto-allo HCT group versus auto-auto HCT group using per-protocol analysis [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.78 (0.58-1.05)), p = 0.11] or using intention-to-treat analysis [HR = 0.83 (0.60-1.15), p = 0.26]. Overall survival (OS) did not differ among these treatment arms whether analyzed on per-protocol [HR = 0.88 (0.33-2.35), p = 0.79], or by intention-to-treat [HR = 0.80 (0.48-1.32), p = 0.39] analysis. Non-relapse mortality (NRM) was significantly worse with auto-allo HCT [RR (95%CI) = 3.55 (2.17-5.80), p < 0.00001].


Despite higher complete remission rates, there is no improvement in OS with auto-allo HCT; but this approach results in higher NRM in patients with newly diagnosed MM. At present, totality of evidence suggests that an auto-allo HCT approach for patients with newly diagnosed myeloma should not be offered outside the setting of a clinical trial.

Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Multiple myeloma; Systematic review