Effect of immunoglobulin therapy on the rate of infections in multiple myeloma patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation or treated with immunomodulatory agents

Alhossain Khalafallah*, Matthias Maiwald, Amanda Cox, Denise Burns, Gerald Bates, Terry Hannan, David Seaton, Bernadene Fernandopulle, Damien Meagher, Terry Brain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Multiple myeloma (MM) is associated with a significant risk of infection due to immune dysfunction. Infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in MM patients. There are few data available regarding the prevalence of infection in MM patients, especially in conjunction with newer generations of immunomodulatory drugs (thalidomide, bortezomib, lenalidomide) or post autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has been used successfully to reduce infection rates in the stable phase of MM, with limited data in other stages. We retrospectively analyzed 47 patients with MM from March 2006 to June 2009 at our institution. All patients received thalidomide and steroid therapy for at least 6 months. Nine patients received bortezomib and 11 lenalidomide subsequent to thalidomide, because of disease progression, and 22 patients underwent ASCT. The median age was 64 years (range 37-86), with a female-to-male ratio of 18:29. The median residual-serum IgG-level at time of infection was 3.2 g/L, IgA 0.3 g/L and IgM 0.2 g/L. Most patients suffered from recurrent moderate to severe bacterial infections, including the ASCT group. Fifteen patients suffered from different degrees of viral infections. All patients except 3 received IVIG therapy with a significant decline of the rate of infection thereafter (p<001). Our analysis shows that patients with MM treated with the new immunomodulatory drugs in conjunction with steroids are at significant increased risk of infection. Employing IVIG therapy appears to be an effective strategy to prevent infection in this cohort of patients. Further studies to confirm these findings are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2010005
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalMediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious Diseases
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

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