Safety of autotransplants with high-dose melphalan in renal failure: A pharmacokinetic and toxicity study

Guido Tricot, David S. Alberts, Cynthia Johnson, Denise J. Roe, Robert T. Dorr, Dwayne Bracy, David H. Vesole, Sundar Jagannath, Ross Meyers, Bart Barlogie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Melphalan (MEL) is probably the most effective chemotherapeutic agent in multiple myeloma (MM) with a clear dose-response effect. It can be escalated without excessive toxicity to 200 mg/m2, a myeloablative dose requiring hematopoietic stem cell support. Patients with marked renal insufficiency, not an infrequent finding in MM, have either received reduced doses or have been excluded from therapy with high-dose MEL. A prospective study was performed to evaluate the relationship between MEL pharmacokinetics and renal function in 20 patients with MM. Six patients had severe renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance, <40 ml/min), including five on chronic hemodialysis. Three patients with severe renal impairment first received a low test dose of MEL (16 mg/m2) for pharmacokinetic studies. All patients received 200 mg/m2 MEL divided into two equal doses of 100 mg/m2 i.v. on 2 consecutive days, followed by the administration of peripheral blood stem cells. MEL pharmacokinetics, performed after the first dose of 100 mg/m2, was not adversely affected by impaired renal function. The median half-life (t( 1/2 )), area under the concentration curve, and clearance of MEL were 1.1 h, 5.5 mg h/liter, and 27.5 liter/h, respectively, in patients with a creatinine clearance of <40 ml/min compared to 1.9, 7.9, and 23.6 for the others. Renal insufficiency also had no apparent negative impact on the quality of peripheral blood stem cell collections and did not adversely affect posttransplant engraftment, transfusion requirements, incidence of severe mucositis, or overall survival. However, it was associated with longer durations of fever (P = 0.0005) and hospitalization (P = 0.004). No transplant-related deaths were observed. Plasma t( 1/2 ) and area under the concentration curve differed by a factor of 10 and MEL clearance by a factor of 5 between patients with the lowest and highest values. These large variations in MEL elimination could not be explained by patient or disease characteristics. We conclude that renal failure does not require dose reduction of MEL in autologous transplant. Due to marked interindividual variation in MEL elimination, pharmacokinetically guided dosing as well as cellular pharmacology studies may be helpful in achieving a more uniform antitumor effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-952
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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