Early autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (AHCT) with post-transplant maintenance therapy is standard of care in multiple myeloma (MM). While short-term quality of life (QOL) deterioration after AHCT is known, the long-term trajectories and symptom burden after transplantation are largely unknown. Toward this goal, a secondary analysis of QOL data of the BMT CTN 0702, a randomized controlled trial comparing outcomes of three treatment interventions after a single AHCT (N = 758), was conducted. FACT-BMT scores up to 4 years post-AHCT were analyzed. Symptom burden was studied using responses to 17 individual symptoms dichotomized as ‘none/mild’ for scores 0–2 and ‘moderate/severe’ for scores of 3 or 4. Patients with no moderate/severe symptom ratings were considered to have low symptom burden at 1-year. Mean age at enrollment was 55.5 years with 17% African Americans. Median follow-up was 6 years (range, 0.4–8.5 years). FACT-BMT scores improved between enrollment and 1-year and remained stable thereafter. Low symptom burden was reported by 27% of patients at baseline, 38% at 1-year, and 32% at 4 years post-AHCT. Predictors of low symptom burden at 1-year included low symptom burden at baseline: OR 2.7 (1.8–4.1), p < 0.0001; older age: OR 2.1 (1.3–3.2), p = 0.0007; and was related to being employed: OR 2.1 (1.4–3.2), p = 0.0004). We conclude that MM survivors who achieve disease control after AHCT have excellent recovery of FACT-BMT and subscale scores to population norms by 1-year post-transplant, though many patients continue to report moderate to severe severity in some symptoms at 1-year and beyond.
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