To evaluate the role of high-dose melphalan and autologous transplant (AT) in reversing dialysis-dependent renal failure, 59 patients still on dialysis at the time of AT were analyzed. A total of 37 patients had been on dialysis ≤6 months. A 5-year event-free and overall survival rate of all patients after AT was 24 and 36%, respectively. Of 54 patients evaluable for renal function improvement, 13 (24%) became dialysis independent at a median of 4 months after AT (range: 1-16). Dialysis duration ≤ 6 months prior to first AT and pre-transplant creatinine clearance >10 ml/min were significant for renal function recovery: 12 of 36 (33%) ≤ 6 months vs one of 18 patients (6%) > 6 months on dialysis recovered renal function; 10 of 26 (38%) with > 10 ml/min vs three of 28 (11%) with ≤ 10 ml/min of creatinine clearance (both P < 0.05). Quality of response after autotransplant was also significant: 12 of 31 (39%) being greater than partial remission after AT vs one of 21 patients (5%) attaining partial remission or less became independent of dialysis (P < 0.05). Our data suggest that significant renal failure can be reversible and AT should be considered early in the disease course.
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