• Multiple Myeloma News
    • Nov 08, 2017

    ASH 2017: Antibiotic Levofloxacin Reduces High Early Death Rate in Myeloma Patients


The American Society of Hematology conference is the largest annual hematology conference in the world where myeloma and other hematology researchers and clinicians join to learn more about the latest in research.The conference will be held in Atlanta from Dec 9-12. Myeloma Crowd authors will be covering the meeting as it happens from the conference in Atlanta. As the research paper abstracts were released in advance of the conference, we will be highlighting key abstracts because it is almost impossible to cover everything in just a few days at ASH. The conference will be held in Atlanta from Dec 9-12.

At this year’s ASH conference, 345 abstracts describing studies and trial results for multiple myeloma will be presented.  One of these is Abstract # 903 which describes the findings of a study for reducing the high early death rate from infections in newly-diagnosed myeloma patients, using the antibiotic levofloxacin as a prophylactic while receiving treatment.  While this would seem to be an obvious way to reduce the infections which often accompany myeloma, such as pneumonia, sepsis, and MRSA, the chance of causing drug resistance has been a concern.

This study of 977 patients conducted at the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, University of Birmingham, England, compared two study groups for the first 12 weeks of their myeloma journey, with one group receiving a daily dose of levofloxacin and the other a placebo.  Regular checkups identified febrile episodes (fevers) and looked for development of cellular resistance to the antibiotic. The conclusion of the study team headed by Dr. Mark T. Drayson, stated in part:

“The primary endpoint showed a significant benefit for the use of levofloxacin with 134 of 488 patients (27%) on placebo reporting events (112 febrile episodes; 15 deaths; 7 febrile episodes and death) versus 95 of 489 patients (19%) on levofloxacin (87 febrile episodes; 4 deaths; 4 febrile episodes and death)….”

In addition, there was no evidence of drug resistance to the antibiotic, all of which can lead to improved survival in the early months for newly-diagnosed patients.  Further studies are being addressed to determine if better, or combinations of antibiotics could be even more effective.                                    .

The full study is available at: https://ash.confex.com/ash/2017/webprogram/Paper106598.html


About Author

Eric Hansen

Eric Hansen had just retired when he and his wife Jeanne received his diagnosis of multiple myeloma in March 2012. At that time, his prognosis was between three to four years. Eric had both a stem cell transplant and radiation and suffered through two infections and double pneumonia. He is quick to note, though, that he still enjoys “the fun stuff,” particularly vacations with Jeanne and fishing for salmon. Eric has learned a few lessons about being a cancer patient: Get connected, find credible websites, become knowledgeable, put your own team together, and be your own advocate. His prognosis is now seven to 10 years. As he puts it, “Science is moving quickly on cancer. I need to run to keep up with it.”

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