When is a patient transplant eligible?

FAQ Library published on June 28, 2017
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Philip L. McCarthy, MD
Professor of Oncology
Director, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Buffalo, New York

Welcome to Managing Myeloma. I am Dr. Philip McCarthy. I am frequently asked “When is a patient transplant-eligible?” That is a good question. In the old days, we used to think that anybody who was above the age of 65 was not transplant-eligible. In some parts of the world, this still persists, that once a patient hits 65 years of age, they are considered transplant-ineligible and are treated with non-transplant options. I think as we get better at taking care of our patients and realize it is not so much age as it is fitness that will dictate whether or not a patient is transplant-eligible. A lot of it depends also on the treatment situation. For myeloma patients, those patients, even those who are in renal failure, can be treated with an autologous transplant as opposed to an allogeneic transplant from another person, which is a completely different type of situation. So, a lot of it depends on the type of comorbidity the patient has; if they have significant cardiovascular disease or pulmonary disease, that may limit their transplant options. We find that if the patient is fit, we have patients in their late 70s who are able to undergo a stem cell transplant in the autologous setting and are able to do quite well. So, we do not limit the transplant option based solely on age. We think more of fitness and performance status to allow us to make a decision as to what type of patients and which patients are transplant-eligible. Thank you for viewing this activity.

Last modified: June 9, 2017
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