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HLA class I and class II antigens associated with multiple myeloma in southern Africa
M. Patel*, A.A. Wadee, J. Galpin, C. Gavalakis, A.M. Fourie, R.H. Kuschke, V. Philip*
Clinical & Laboratory Haematology
Volume 24 Issue 4 Page 215 - August 2002

Summary. While the exact aetiology of myeloma is unknown, genetic factors feature among the potential risk factors. The HLA phenotypes in African blacks with myeloma (the commonest haematopoietic malignancy in this group) have not been characterized. The purpose of this study was to determine the HLA class I and class II phenotypes of patients with multiple myeloma and to compare the findings to an ethnically matched control group of 100 individuals. Analysis of the HLA class I and class II phenotypes in 62 myeloma patients revealed: (i) a corresponding statistically significant association with HLA B18 [odds ratio (OR) 6.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.013-39.727; P<0.005]; (ii) no statistically significant association with HLA B13, Cw2, Cw6 or the DR and DQ antigens; and (iii) a statistically significant negative (protective) association with HLA Cw7 (OR 0.4; 95% CI 0.21-0.87; P<0.005). This study suggests that although genetic factors may play a role in the multifactorial aetiology of multiple myeloma, with the exception of HLA B18, there is no specific association between HLA types and multiple myeloma in South African blacks.

Infectious complications after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: comparison of patients with acute myeloid leukemia, malignant lymphoma, and multiple myeloma
H. W. Auner1, H. Sill1, A. Mulabecirovic1, W. Linkesch1 and R. Krause2
1Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Karl-Franzens-University, Auenbruggerplatz 38, 8036 Graz, Austria
2Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Karl-Franzens-University, Graz, Austria

Abstract. It is yet undetermined whether patients with different hematological malignancies have different propensities to infectious complications after high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). We retrospectively analyzed 136 cycles of HDC and autologous HSCT in 114 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML, 24 cycles), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma/Hodgkin's disease (NHL/HD, 55 cycles), and multiple myeloma (MM, 57 cycles) with respect to early infectious complications. Median duration of neutropenia was longer in patients with AML and NHL/HD than in patients with MM (11 days vs 8 days) and after conditioning including total body irradiation (TBI) compared with chemotherapy only preparative regimens (11 days vs 7 days). Fever requiring antimicrobial therapy was observed in 88% of cycles, with fever of unknown origin (FUO) accounting for 60% of febrile episodes. There was no proven fungal infection, but one case of probable invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. Microbiologically documented infections were seen in 29% and clinically documented infections in 11%. Response to first-line empirical antibiotic therapy was better for FUO than for documented infections (70% vs 40%). Patients with TBI as part of their conditioning regimen had more overall infections than patients without TBI (96% vs 82%). There were no differences with respect to the type or incidence of infections between patients with AML, NHL/HD, and MM. Patients with different hematological malignancies have similar rates of early infectious complications after HDC and autologous HSCT. TBI may be associated with an increased risk for infections in the early post-transplant period.

Incidence and evolution of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) in Greece
A. Anagnostopoulos1, 2,3, D. Sotou2, D. Gika1, D. Mitsibounas1 and IMF Scientific Advisor M.-A. Dimopoulos1
1Department of Clinical Therapeutics, University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece
2Laboratory of Immunology, Alexandra Hospital, Greece
3The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Box 423, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX, 77030-4009, USA

Abstract. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is a relatively common condition among individuals older than 70 years. The actuarial risk of MGUS progression to an overt plasma cell malignancy (PCM) after 20 years of follow-up has been reported to be as high as 30%. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence and evolution of MGUS in a Greek population: 1564 consecutive patients older than 50 years who were admitted to the Department of Clinical Therapeutics at the University of Athens School of Medicine for various reasons over a 26-month period were evaluated with serum protein electrophoresis. In cases in which a monoclonal protein was detected, a panel of tests was performed to rule out an underlying plasma cell malignancy (PCM). Serum levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-6-soluble receptor (IL-6SR), IL-1 beta, and transforming growth factor beta 1 were also measured in the MGUS cases. Patients with MGUS were monitored at regular intervals for evidence of multiple myeloma or other PCMs. The incidence of MGUS was 4% and there was a positive correlation with increasing age. The median value of serum M peak was only 5.3 g/l. After a median follow-up of 71 months, only two patients developed multiple myeloma (60 and 75 months after initial diagnosis). Our data are consistent with those of other epidemiological studies regarding the incidence of MGUS, but the monoclonal protein levels and the probability of evolution to a malignant plasma cell disorder appeared to be lower in our study than in other series. Our data support the hypothesis that individuals with low M peak values require only regular annual follow-up examinations.