While reviewing my multiple myeloma research files this afternoon, I came across an interesting article in the August 2009 Issue of Oncology Nursing News about hemodialysis and multiple myeloma:

When used in combination with chemotherapy, a novel procedure called high cut-off hemodialysis (HCH) may improve health and extend life in people with multiple myeloma.


Because multiple myeloma causes severe kidney failure, patients often need dialysis. Once they get to that point, typical life expectancy is less than a year. However, Colin Hutchison, MD, of the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, and colleagues have found that HCH helps restore kidney function and might allow these patients to live longer. This type of dialysis removes large immunological proteins that cause kidney damage in people with myeloma.


The study by Dr Hutchison’s team was small but yielded impressive results: The investigators studied 19 multiple myeloma patients who underwent HCH while receiving chemotherapy. In all 13 patients who completed the full treatment protocol, immunological proteins were reduced and kidney function was restored.


“This study saw over 70% of patients becoming independent of dialysis, which is greatly above the rate expected in this setting,” pointed out Dr Hutchison in a statement announcing the findings, which were published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (Hutchison CA, et al. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009;4:745-754). “High cut-off hemodialysis is exciting because it offers a novel way of treating this group of patients who have historically done very poorly.”


Although Dr Hutchison’s research was an uncontrolled pilot study, a randomized control trial called EuLITE (a European trial of free light chain removal by extended hemodialysis) will further evaluate this treatment.

Even with improved therapy options, kidney involvement is still common among multiple myeloma patients.  This sounds like another way to help some of us live to fight another day!

Feel good and keep smiling! Pat