Maintenance with Interferon Alpha in Myeloma

  • H. Ludwig
  • E. Fritz
Part of the Haematology and Blood Transfusion / Hämatologie und Bluttransfusion book series (HAEMATOLOGY, volume 39)


Although IFN maintenance treatment is routinely used in many myeloma treatment centers, its clinical efficacy is still a matter of controversy. IFN, a biologic response modifier, inhibits myeloma cell growth and stimulates important functions of the immune system. Randomized clinical trials have yielded ambiguous results regarding improvements of remission duration and survival times. However, a meta-analysis of all available randomized studies which compared IFN maintenance treatment with untreated controls (involving 1213 myeloma patients) showed small but significant gains in both relapse-free and overall survival. Several studies report beneficial effects of IFN maintenance treatment after high-dose therapy with autologous bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. The most frequently observed adverse effects of IFN maintenance therapy are fever and flu-like symptoms, which mainly occur during the early treatment phase, and fatigue. When patients are given the opportunity to state their personal preferences, the majority of them will opt for IFN maintenance treatment if the expected median gains in relapse-free or overall survival are 6 months or more. Patients who agree to the treatment tend to be younger, to have had personal experience with IFN, and to be in more advanced myeloma stages. We recommend IFN maintenance treatment in myeloma patients with low tumor burden, such as patients in complete remission after high-dose treatment and bone marrow or peripheral stem cell transplantation.


Multiple Myeloma Maintenance Treatment Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation Autologous Bone Marrow Myeloma Patient 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Ludwig
    • 1
  • E. Fritz
    • 1
  1. 1.1st Dept. of Medicine and OncologyWilhelminenspitalViennaAustria

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