The risk of flu infections in cancer patients who are at highest risk for influenza can be reduced by a new vaccine strategy.
Even though patients with multiple myeloma and other plasma cell disorders may receive an annual flu vaccine, studies show that a one-time flu shot does not offer adequate immune response.
‘Individuals affected with cancer must receive a high-dose flu vaccine followed by a second high-dose booster shot one month later to reduce risk of flu infections.
The Yale Cancer Center researchers' strategy entails offering patients a high-dose flu vaccine followed by a second high-dose booster shot one month later.
The high-dose vaccine (Fluzone High-Dose) was approved in 2009 by the FDA as a single dose for adults over 65. The booster strategy lowered the flu infection rate among patients to 6 percent versus an expected rate of 20 percent, and it improved protection against all flu strains covered by the vaccine in 66 percent of patients, said first author Andrew Branagan.
Using an approved flu vaccine in a novel dosing schedule yielded promising results for a group of patients at high risk for infection, Branagan said. The findings were presented Dec. 6 at the 57th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in Orlando, Florida.