Evaluating the incidence of engraftment syndrome with different melphalan formulations in adult multiple myeloma and immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis patients undergoing autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation


Background: Engraftment syndrome (ES) is a common complication of autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). The difference in incidence of ES between melphalan formulations has not been widely reported throughout the literature and would allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of both melphalan formulations.

Patients and methods: This retrospective, single-center, observational study evaluated 83 adult multiple myeloma and immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis patients who received either propylene glycol-containing (PG) or propylene glycol-free (PG-free) melphalan 140 mg/m2 as single-agent conditioning chemotherapy for autologous HCT from May 31, 2015 to May 31, 2019. The primary outcome was to assess the incidence of ES, as defined using the Maiolino criteria, with both melphalan formulations. Secondary outcomes included an analysis of potential risk factors for the development of ES, as well as an evaluation of overall length of stay (LOS).

Results: The incidence of ES for PG and PG-free melphalan did not differ significantly, 14/39 (35.9%) and 12/44 (27.3%) (P = 0.4), respectively. No potential risk factors for ES were identified on multivariate logistic regression analysis. A statistically significant difference in number of days to engraftment was identified for PG and PG-free melphalan, 15.56 vs. 13.82 days (P = 0.01), respectively; although, this did not translate to a decrease in LOS, 19.9 vs. 18.59 days (P = 0.14).

Conclusions: The incidence of ES did not differ significantly between melphalan formulations. Future research is needed to determine whether the faster time to engraftment seen with PG-free melphalan may translate to a decrease in LOS.