Treatment-related mortality (TRM) is not uncommon in patients after the first course of vincristine-doxorubicin-dexamethasone (VAD) chemotherapy, but quite rare after melphalan-prednisolone (MP). This motivated us to compare the rates of TRM after the first course of VAD with those after the first course of MP. We retrospectively assessed survival and TRM in 179 patients treated for multiple myeloma with either MP or VAD. Survival was similar in two groups (P = 0.463 in log-rank test). However, TRM was significantly higher in patients after the first course of VAD (11 in 100 patients, 11.0%) than that after the first course of MP (1 in 79, 1.3%; P = 0.010). Poor performance status (P = 0.004) and advanced age (P = 0.009) before treatment were independent significant factors associated with TRM after the first course of induction therapy. Pyogenic infection was the major cause of TRM after VAD (9 in 11, 81.8%). We concluded that VAD should be cautiously used as induction therapy in multiple myeloma patients, especially in elderly and/or those with poor performance status.
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