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Which Is Most Effective: Novel Therapy Agents Or Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) Transplants?

Home/Which Is Most Effective: Novel Therapy Agents Or Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) Transplants?

Which Is Most Effective: Novel Therapy Agents Or Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) Transplants?

Regular reader and fellow cancer blogger David Everson asked I share this article with you:
Which is more effective for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma- novel therapies or bone marrow transplant?

The single greatest debate in the conventional treatment of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma today is whether to treat with “novel” therapies or to have an autologus bone marrow transplant.

The study linked below indicates that there is no statistical difference when comparing outcomes.

“This is the first study that compares high-dose chemotherapy with hemopoietic stem-cell support against conventional-dose chemotherapy plus new drugs, and we are pleased to see that with the actual follow-up there was no difference in response between the two arms of the study.”

Like most trials, oncologists will have to wait years to learn about any differences in overall survival. But for now the benefit of autologus stem cell transplant with increased risks of side effects must be questioned.

As most of you may already know, I am not a big fan of unecessary stem cell transplants (SCT).  But to be fair, David should have placed a very large asterisk at the end of his comments.

Why?  Because studies like this one are too new to fairly compare these two therapy options–traditional SCT vs novel therapy agent combinations without SCT. 

And who says this should be an either/or question?  Why not try using novel therapies initially and then go to SCT after first or second relapse? 

Thank you, David!  Certainly something to think about.  Options are good, right?
Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat