Maintenance therapy with interferon-alpha after high-dose treatment with stem cell support in multiple myeloma has been intensively debated. In this study, we evaluated the response to treatment with interferon-alpha in relation to genetic variation in genes related to inflammation.
Design and Methods
In a retrospective study of 296 patients with multiple myelom undergoing high-dose therapy between 1994 and 2004, 146 patients were treated with interferon-alpha as maintenance therapy. We tested the polymorphisms IL1B T-31C, IL6 G-174C, NFKB1-94ins/delATTG, CD3EAP G-21A and PPP1R13L IVS1 A4364G for associations with time to treatment failure and overall survival with and without interferon-alpha treatment.
The wild type ins-allele of polymorphism NFKBi-94 ins/delATTG was, by multivariate Cox analysis, associated with longer time to treatment failure (p=0.01) and overall survival (p=0.0084) when tested between treatment arms and in the subgroup of patients treated with interferon-alpha the wild type ins-allele was associated with longer overall survival (p=0.002). In the absence of interferon-alpha treatment, there was no association between the polymorphisms and treatment outcome, except for patients homozygous for the wild type G allele of IL6 G-174C who survived longer (p= 0.0074) than variant allele carriers. There was no association between the polymorphisms IL1B T-31C, CD3EAP G-21A and PPP1R13L IVS1 A4364G and treatment outcome for interferon-alpha.
Patients who are homozygous carriers of the wild type ins-allele of the NFKB1 - 94ins/delATTG polymorphism may benefit from treatment with interferon-alpha, in contrast to patients carrying the variant allele. This result may indicate that the effect of interferon-alpha treatment is dependent on the availability of nuclear factor-kappa B and the polymorphism in NFKB1 may, therefore, be a good prognostic marker for multiple myeloma patients on maintenance treatment with interferon-alpha after high-dose therapy. A prospective study of interferon-alpha treatment in relation to NFKB1 -94ins/delATTG is highly warranted.