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Increased fecal primary bile acids in multiple myeloma with engraftment syndrome diarrhea after stem cell transplant



Autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) for multiple myeloma (MM) is associated with diarrhea during the peri-transplant period. We aimed to appraise mechanisms of peri-ASCT diarrhea in a prospective, longitudinal study of patients with MM. We compared by repeated measures (RM)-ANOVA daily bowel movements (BMs) and consistency [7-point Bristol Stool Form Scale (BSFS)], fecal calprotectin (intestinal inflammation), 13C-mannitol excretion in urine 0–2 h (small intestinal permeability), fasting serum C4 (bile acid synthesis) and total and primary bile acid in stool samples during baseline, peri-transplant period (Days 5–7 after stem cell infusion), and after hematological recovery post-ASCT. The 12 (5F, 7M) patients’ median age was 61 y (IQR 54.8–63.3). All participants reported increased BMs (increase of 2 and 1 per day with and without engraftment syndrome, respectively). There were no significant increases in serum C4, total fecal bile acids, or intestinal permeability. Relative to patients without engraftment syndrome, four participants with engraftment syndrome had looser stool consistency (mean 2.6 points higher BSFS compared to without engraftment syndrome), increased primary fecal bile acids relative to baseline (>33 µmol/L vs. 6 µmol/L without engraftment syndrome), and increased fecal calprotectin compared to baseline (313 μg/mL vs. 35.6 μg/mL without engraftment syndrome; p = 0.06). Engraftment syndrome post-ASCT is associated with increased fecal primary bile acids.

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The authors thank Mrs. Cindy Stanislav for excellent secretarial assistance.


This study was supported by a grant to Dr. MC from Fondation Dr. Corinne Schuler.

Author contributions

WG and MC—co-principal investigators, patient care, authorship of manuscript. PV—authorship of manuscript. DB—database management. WR, AT—study coordination, patient recruitment. AL—lab measurements of serum C4 and total and individual fecal bile acids LD—laboratory supervision, authorship of manuscript. WJH and TM—protocol development.

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Correspondence to Michael Camilleri.

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