Melphalan combined with prednisone (MP) has long been the historical treatment of reference for a large proportion of elderly myeloma (MM) patients ineligible for autologous stem cell transplantation, and is still the backbone of new regimens that include the new era of novel agents. Melphalan–prednisone–thalidomide (MPT) and melphalan–prednisone–bortezomib (Velcade®, MPV), proved superior to MP, currently appear to be the treatments of choice for this population. In the near future melphalan–prednisone–lenalidomide (Revlimid®, MPR) will also provide a third therapeutic option (MPT, MPV, and MPR), in elderly multiple myeloma, eventually. These options could lead to more personalized treatment approaches, based on patient comorbidities, as the three novel agents have somewhat different toxicity profiles. Dexamethasone-based regimen is another option and questions regarding the relative efficacy of melphalan-based versus low-dose dexamethasone-based regimens will require randomized phase III trials. More intensive approaches with new drug combinations or with the incorporation of polyethylene glycolated (PEGylated) liposomal doxorubicin will also require additional studies. Additionally, the important issue of maintenance treatment needs to be further investigated. These new and emerging therapies offer multiple effective treatment options for MM patients and greatly enhanced treatment strategies for clinicians.
multiple myeloma; elderly; bortezomib; thalidomide; revlimid; IMiDs; supportive care
Advances in therapies for younger patients with multiple myeloma have resulted in significant improvements in outcome over recent years, on the contrary the progress in treatments for elderly patients has remained more modest. Traditionally, patients who are not eligible for transplantation, like the older patients, have been treated with the combination of melphalan plus prednisone (MP), which leads to responses in approximately 50% of patients; however, patients rarely achieve a complete response (CR) and long-term outcomes are disappointing, with a relapse-free survival of approximately 18 months and an overall survival (OS) of approximately 3 years.
With the arrival of novel agents, including the first–in-class proteasome inhibitor, bortezomib, and the immunomodulatory agents, thalidomide and lenalidomide, a shift in the management of older patients and/or those not eligible for transplantation has taken place. Increasingly, novel agents are now being incorporated into therapy, based on the positive findings from clinical trials in this setting, and outcomes have improved accordingly.
This review presents an overview of the most recent data using the novel agents thalidomide, bortezomib, and lenalidomide in the treatment of multiple myeloma and summarizes European treatment practices incorporating these novel agents.
The treatment of multiple myeloma (MM) has undergone significant developments in recent years. The availability of the novel agents thalidomide, bortezomib, and lenalidomide has expanded treatment options and has improved the outcome of patients with MM. Following the introduction of these agents in the relapsed/refractory setting, they are also undergoing investigation in the initial treatment of MM. A number of phase III trials have demonstrated the efficacy of novel agent combinations in the transplant and nontransplant settings, and based on these results standard induction regimens are being challenged and replaced. In the transplant setting, a number of newer induction regimens are now available that have been shown to be superior to the vincristine, doxorubicin, and dexamethasone regimen. Similarly, in the front-line treatment of patients not eligible for transplantation, regimens incorporating novel agents have been found to be superior to the traditional melphalan plus prednisone regimen. Importantly, some of the novel agents appear to be active in patients with high-risk disease, such as adverse cytogenetic features, and certain comorbidities, such as renal impairment. This review presents an overview of the most recent data with these novel agents and summarizes European treatment practices incorporating the novel agents.
Multiple myeloma; Thalidomide; Bortezomib; Lenalidomide
In the 21st Century, melphalan-prednisone can no longer be regarded as the standard treatment of multiple myeloma patients not eligible for high-dose melphalan followed by autologous stem cell transplantation. The introduction of thalidomide, lenalidomide and bortezomib has improved the arsenal of therapeutic options in multiple myeloma. Indeed, randomized studies have shown that melphalan-prednisone-thalidomide and melphalan-prednisone-bortezomib are superior to melphalan-prednisone alone. Additionally, other combinations, including lenalidomide are under study. In this review we discuss the role of novel therapies in multiple myeloma in elderly multiple myeloma patients. Important aspects, such as toxicity and the role of prognostic factors, are also addressed.
The melphalan-prednisone regimen has been considered as standard therapy for patients with multiple myeloma (MM) for many years. Recently, high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell support has extended progression-free survival and increased overall survival, and it is now considered conventional therapy in younger patients. However, most patients relapse and the salvage treatment is not very effective. New active drugs, including immunomodulatory agents, thalidomide (Thal) and lenalidomide, and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib, have shown promising anti-myeloma activity. These novel treatments are aimed at overcoming resistance of tumour cells to conventional chemotherapy, acting both directly on myeloma cells and indirectly by blocking the interactions of myeloma cells with their local microenvironment and suppressing growth and survival signals induced by autocrine and paracrine loops in the bone marrow. Thal has been widely studied, mostly in combination regimens in patients with relapsed MM and, more recently, in front-line therapy, showing efficacy in terms of response rate and event-free survival. Bortezomib has been found to possess remarkable activity, especially in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents, in relapsed/refractory and newly diagnosed MM, as well as in patients presenting adverse prognostic factors. Lenalidomide, in combination with dexamethasone, is showing high overall response rates in relapsed and refractory MM and promising results also in first-line therapy. In this paper, the results of the most significant trials with Thal, bortezomib and lenalidomide are reported. Several ongoing clinical studies will hopefully allow the identification of the most active combinations capable of improving survival in patients with MM.
Multiple myeloma; Therapy; Thalidomide; Lenalidomide; Bortezomib
The incidence of multiple myeloma (MM) increases with age, and with the aging of the population, the number of adults with MM is expected to double in the next 20 years. Novel agents, including the immunomodulatory agents thalidomide and lenalidomide, and the proteosome inhibitor bortezomib have dramatically changed the treatment of multiple myeloma in the past decade. The purpose of this review was to examine the recent clinical therapeutic trials in older adults with MM. A number of trials have evaluated the addition of novel agents to the traditional backbone of melphalan and prednisone. The combination of thalidomide with melphalan and prednisone has been evaluated in 7 randomized trials. The combination improves response rates and, in meta-analyses, survival, but at the expense of increased toxicity. Other combination regimens which include lenalidomide or bortezomib likewise are associated with higher response rates, but at the expense of greater toxicity. High dose dexamethasone is excessively toxic in older adults and should be avoided. The roles for high-dose therapy with autologous stem cell transplant or intermediate-dose melphalan with autologous stem cell transplant in older adults with MM in the era of modern therapy remain to be defined. In summary, there are a number of new therapeutic options for older adults with MM, allowing an individualized treatment strategy based on the patient's comorbidities and goals of care.
multiple myeloma; geriatrics; aging; chemotherapy; immunomodulatory agents; proteosome inhibitors
Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematologic malignancy. It accounts for 20,580 new cancer cases in the USA in 2009, including 11,680 cases in men, 8,900 cases in women, and 10,580 deaths overall. Although the disease remains still incurable, outcomes have improved substantially over recent years thanks to the use of high-dose therapy and the availability of novel agents, such as the immunomodulatory drugs thalidomide and lenalidomide, and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib. Various trials have shown the advantages linked to the use of novel agents in the transplant and not-transplant settings. In particular, this paper will present an overview of the results achieved with lenalidomide-containing combinations in patients eligible for high-dose therapies, namely, young patients. The advantages obtained should always be outweighed with the toxicity profile associated with the regimen used. Therefore, here, we will also provide a description of the main adverse events associated with lenalidomide and its combination.
Oral melphalan and prednisone remain an effective and tolerable treatment for patients with multiple myeloma. For approximately 40 years, this combination has been the standard of care for patients not proceeding to stem cell transplant. Within the last 10 years, new agents have been found to be efficacious in the relapsed/refractory setting. Within the last year, two trials of added thalidomide in the newly diagnosed setting have demonstrated outcomes superior to those achieved with melphalan and prednisone alone. This improved outcome comes at the cost of increased toxicity.
The National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group (ncic ctg) has recently developed a randomized phase ii trial (MY.11) that uses a combination of lenalidomide with melphalan for patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. Lenalidomide is a thalidomide analogue and, like thalidomide, is thought to work through immunomodulatory effects. It was shown to have activity in patients with relapsed or refractory disease and, in combination with dexamethasone, is superior to dexamethasone alone. Lenalidomide holds promise as a more effective and potentially less toxic derivative of thalidomide. Experience with lenalidomide in combination with chemotherapy is very limited, and the purpose of MY.11 is to establish tolerability and to gain knowledge about efficacy. The information gained from MY.11 is expected to help inform dosing levels and schedules for a large phase iii trial being developed by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group that will include participation by the ncic ctg.
Multiple myeloma; newly diagnosed; melphalan; thalidomide; lenalidomide
Autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is considered the standard therapy for younger patients with newly diagnosed symptomatic multiple myeloma (MM). The introduction into clinical practice of novel agents, such as the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib and the immunomodulatory derivatives (IMiDs) thalidomide and lenalidomide, has significantly contributed to major advances in MM therapy and prognosis. These novel agents are incorporated into induction regimens to enhance the depth of response before ASCT and further improve post-ASCT outcomes. Between January 2000 and November 2011, 65 patients with MM were transplanted in the Department of Biomedical Science and Clinical Oncology at the University of Bari. According to Durie-Salmon, 60 patients had stage III of disease and 5 stage II. Only 7 patients were in stage B (renal failure). Induction regimens that were administered in two or more cycles were VAD (vincristine, adriamycin, and dexamethasone), Thal-Dex (thalidomide, dexamethasone), Len-Dex (lenalidomide, dexamethasone), Vel-Dex (bortezomib, dexamethasone), VTD (bortezomib, thalidomide, and dexamethasone), and PAD (bortezomib, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, and dexamethasone). In mobilization procedure, the patients received cyclophosphamide and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). The number of cells collected through two or more leukapheresess, response after induction, and toxicity were evaluated to define the more adequate up-front induction regimen in transplantation-eligible MM patients.
Multiple myeloma remains an incurable disease despite the introduction of the immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) thalidomide and lenalidomide and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib that have improved the outcome of patients with both newly diagnosed and relapsed/refractory disease. However, patients who relapse after treatment with these agents or are refractory to them represent an unmet need and highlight the necessity for the development of novel anti-myeloma agents. Pomalidomide is an IMiD, structurally related to thalidomide, with enhanced antiangiogenic, antineoplastic, and anti-inflammatory properties and exhibiting potent anti-myeloma activity in vitro and in vivo. Pomalidomide has shown remarkable activity in patients who were refractory to both bortezomib and lenalidomide in Phase II and III studies. This paper reviews the chemistry and mechanisms of action of pomalidomide as well as all the available data from clinical trials on pomalidomide use in patients with refractory/relapsed multiple myeloma.
immunomodulatory drugs; cereblon; angiogenesis; lenalidomide; refractory
Multiple myeloma is a common plasma cell neoplasm that is incurable with conventional therapy. The treatment paradigm of multiple myeloma is not standardized and is evolving. The advent of novel drugs, including the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib and the immunomodulatory agents, has resulted in increased median survival. Unfortunately, all patients eventually relapse and require further therapy. Pomalidomide is the newest immunomodulatory drug, created by chemical modification of thalidomide with the intention of increasing therapeutic activity while limiting toxicity. Its mechanism of action is incompletely understood but involves anti-angiogenic effects, immunomodulation, an effect on the myeloma tumor microenvironment, and the protein cereblon. It is more potent than thalidomide and lenalidomide. In phase II studies, it has shown significant activity in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma, including patients who are heavily pretreated, have disease refractory to lenalidomide and bortezomib, and those with high-risk cytogenetic or molecular markers. It is generally well tolerated, with adverse effects including fatigue, neutropenia, neuropathy, and thromboembolic disease. Pomalidomide is a promising new agent in the expanding arsenal of antimyeloma drugs. In this review, we discuss the clinical experience to date with pomalidomide in multiple myeloma.
multiple myeloma; pomalidomide; treatment
Although outcomes for patients with multiple myeloma (MM) have improved over the past decade, the disease remains incurable and even patients who respond well to induction therapy ultimately relapse and require additional treatment. Conventional chemotherapy and high-dose therapy with stem cell transplantation (SCT) have historically been utilized in the management of relapsed MM, but in recent years the immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) thalidomide and lenalidomide, as well as the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib, have assumed a primary role in this setting. This review focuses on the role of thalidomide, lenalidomide and bortezomib in relapsed and refractory MM, with additional discussion dedicated to emerging drugs in relapsed MM that may prove beneficial to patients with this disease.
multiple myeloma; chemotherapy; lenalidomide; thalidomide; bortezomib
Many advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma have been made due to the use of transplantation and the introduction of novel agents including thalidomide, lenalidomide, and bortezomib. The first step is recognizing the symptoms and starting prompt treatment. Different strategies should be selected for young and elderly subjects. Young patients are commonly eligible for transplantation, which is now considered the standard approach for this setting, and various inductions therapies containing novel agents are available before transplantation. Elderly patients are usually not eligible for transplantation, and gentler approaches with new drugs combinations are used for their treatment.
Multiple myeloma; Thalidomide; Lenalidomide; Bortezomib; Induction therapy
Novel agents such as thalidomide, lenalidomide, and bortezomib have been shown to possess potent activity against multiple myeloma. However, the treatment strategy for patients who acquired resistance to these agents has not been established. In addition to switching drug classes, intensified treatment strategy, including increase in the dosage of current agents and addition of other agents, may be considered for these patients. We here describe 2 myeloma patients with acquired resistance to bortezomib or lenalidomide, in whom add-on therapy with low-dose cyclophosphamide was effective and tolerable. These cases suggest that add-on therapy with cyclophosphamide is one of the treatment options to overcome resistance to novel agents in patients with multiple myeloma. A larger prospective study is needed to clarify the efficacy and safety of this strategy for novel agent-resistant multiple myeloma.
The paradigm for the treatment of monoclonal gammopaties has dramatically changed: therapeutic options in multiple myeloma (MM) have evolved from the introduction of melphalan and prednisone in the 1960s, high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation in the late 1980s and 1990s, to the rapid introduction of small novel molecules within the last seven years. Based on the understanding of the complex interaction of the MM cells with the bone marrow microenvironment and the signaling pathways that are dysregulated in this process, a number of novel therapeutic agents are now available. Specifically, three novel agents with a specific-targeted anti-MM activity, have been FDA-approved for the treatment of this disease, namely Bortezomib, thalidomide, and lenalidomide which are now all playing a key role in the treatment of MM. The success of targeted therapy in MM has since led to the development and investigation of more than 30 new compounds in this disease and in other plasma cell dyscrasias such as Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia and primary amyloidosis, both in the preclinical settings and as part of clinical trials.
monoclonal gammopaties; targeted therapies
Lenalidomide is an amino-substituted derivative of thalidomide with direct antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects on the myeloma tumor cell, as well as antiangiogenic activity and immunomodulatory effects. Together with the introduction of bortezomib and thalidomide, lenalidomide has significantly improved the survival of patients with relapsed and refractory myeloma. The most common adverse events associated with lenalidomide include fatigue, skin rash, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia. In addition, when lenalidomide is combined with dexamethasone or other conventional cytotoxic agents, there is an increase in the incidence of venous thromboembolic events. There is now evidence that continued treatment with lenalidomide has a significant impact on survival by improving the depth and duration of response. This highlights the value of adverse event management and appropriate dose adjustments to prevent toxicity, and of allowing continued treatment until disease progression. In this review, we will discuss the different lenalidomide-based treatment regimens for patients with relapsed/refractory myeloma. This is accompanied by recommendations of how to manage and prevent adverse events associated with lenalidomide-based therapy.
lenalidomide; multiple myeloma; immunomodulatory drugs; relapse treatment; refractory disease
This paper provides an overview of developments in the diagnosis, therapy and monitoring of the monoclonal gammopathies, particularly multiple myeloma and AL amyloidosis. Consensus statements outlining diagnostic criteria for monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), myeloma and amyloidosis have been recently published. Understanding of the biology and pathogenesis of myeloma has accelerated in the last decade and provides the basis for improved prognostication and therapeutic interventions. Myeloma therapy has progressed with the introduction of autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantation and the recent introduction of the novel agents, thalidomide, lenalidomide and bortezomib. Each of these therapeutic advances has contributed to the improved survival seen in this patient population. Similar treatment advances are occurring in AL amyloidosis. While serum and urine electrophoretic analysis remain the “gold standard” laboratory techniques for the accurate and cost-effective monitoring of the monoclonal gammopathies, new tests such as the free light chain assays have a complementary role. New guidelines for the monitoring of both myeloma and AL amyloidosis have been produced that incorporate these newer tests.
Multiple myeloma accounts for 10% of all hematologic cancers. Median age at diagnosis is 69 years for men and 72 years for women. The incidence of MM has remained relatively stable, but the associated mortality has declined since the early 1990s. The knowledge acquired about the bone marrow microenvironment in MM and the availability of new drugs has significantly improved patients survival in the past 10 years. Immunomodulatory drugs (thalidomide, lenalidomide) and proteasome inhibitors (bortezomib, carfilzomib) can induce apoptosis of myeloma plasma cells and suppress cytokine release and metabolic ways which sustain the disease. These novel agents demonstrate substantial activity either alone or as part of a range of combination regimens. MM therapy is now based on 1 or 2 new drugs plus standard chemotherapy. Induction is patient tailored and first of all it depends on eligibility for stem-cell transplantation and key presenting features of the patients and the disease. Noteworthy, novel agent-based combination therapies may overcome most of poor prognostic factors. Up to 80% of newly diagnosed MM patients present with osteopenia, osteolysis and fractures. Thalidomide, lenalidomide and bortezomib have a beneficial effect on myeloma-related bone disease. Thalidomide reduces bone resorption, lenalidomide and bortezomib inhibit osteoclast growth and survival, and specifically target key factors in osteoclastogenesis, preventing development of osteolytic lesions. Noteworthy, new therapies offer higher complete response rates than previously reported with standard regimens.
multiple myeloma; immunomodulatory drugs; myeloma bone disease
MM is the top indication for high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) with autologous stem cell transplantation (SCT), a strategy which improves progression-free survival and potentially overall survival. Novel induction regimens incorporating the immunomodulatory (IMID) agents thalidomide and lenalidomide, and the proteosome inhibitor bortezomib improve response rates and survival for newly diagnosed patients. Recent data temper enthusiasm for these treatments by illustrating difficulty in some circumstances with mobilizing CD34(+) hematopoietic stem cells for subsequent HDC/SCT. We compare conventional induction regimens with novel-agent based induction strategies and the associated effects on stem cell mobilization and HDC/SCT outcome in 397 patients. Although patients exposed to novel agent inductions collected generally fewer CD34(+) cells than patients induced with chemotherapy, these differences did not translate into adverse consequences with subsequent HDC/SCT. We show that an improvement in overall survival following HDC/SCT may be related to induction therapy with novel agents as opposed to chemotherapy. Our data extrapolate on prior work and expand on ongoing controversies about optimal induction regimens for MM patients planned for subsequent HDC/SCT and optimal sequencing of therapies.
Multiple myeloma; stem cell transplant; stem cell mobilization
Although multiple myeloma remains incurable outside of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, novel agents made available only in the last few decades have nonetheless tremendously improved the landscape of myeloma treatment. Lenalidomide, of the immunomodulatory class of drugs, is one of those novel agents. In the non-transplant and relapsed/refractory settings, lenalidomide clearly benefits patients in terms of virtually all meaningful outcomes including overall survival. Data supporting the usage of lenalidomide as part of treatment approaches incorporating high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell support (ASCT) are less mature as pertains to such long-term outcomes and toxicity, and lenalidomide is not currently approved by regulatory agencies for use in the context of ASCT in either the United States or Europe. That said, relatively preliminary efficacy data describing lenalidomide as a component of ASCT-based treatment approaches to MM are indeed promising, and consequently lenalidomide's role in ASCT-based treatment strategies is growing. In this review we summarize existing data that pertains to lenalidomide in the specific context of ASCT, and we share our thoughts on how our own group applies these data to approach this complex issue clinically.
Light chain (AL) amyloidosis is a plasma cell dyscrasia characterized by the pathologic production of fibrillar proteins comprised of monoclonal light chains which deposit in tissues and cause organ dysfunction. The diagnosis can be challenging, requiring a biopsy and often specialized testing to confirm the subtype of systemic disease. The goal of treatment is eradication of the monoclonal plasma cell population and suppression of the pathologic light chains which can result in organ improvement and extend patient survival. Standard treatment approaches include high dose melphalan (HDM) followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (SCT) or oral melphalan with dexamethasone (MDex). The use of novel agents (thalidomide, lenalidomide and bortezomib) alone and in combination with steroids and alkylating agents has shown efficacy and continues to be explored. A risk adapted approach to SCT followed by novel agents as consolidation reduces treatment related mortality with promising outcomes. Immunotherapeutic approaches targeting pathologic plasma cells and amyloid precursor proteins or fibrils are being developed. Referral of patients to specialized centers focusing on AL amyloidosis and conducting clinical trials is essential to improving patient outcomes.
The discovery of the ubiquitin–proteasome pathway first, and the proteasome inhibitors thereafter were not made in the hope of improving the treatment of malignant diseases. However, bortezomib, the first in class proteasome inhibitor introduced in the clinical practice has contributed to improve the outcome of patients with multiple myeloma, at relapse or disease progression as well as upfront. The results observed in a large randomized trial (APEX) comparing bortezomib and high-dose dexamethasone demonstrated a significant benefit for bortezomib in terms of response rate, progression-free and overall survival. These results led to bortezomib being approved for use in relapsed and/or refractory myeloma patients. Subsequent studies demonstrated that its activity could be enhanced in combination with other drugs; and the next step was to move to the newly diagnosed patient population; in fact, bortezomib–melphalan–prednisone (VMP) is approved as a standard of care for newly diagnosed elderly patients. However, toxicity, especially peripheral neuropathy, as well as the intravenous route required for its administration are the two most significant bortezomib-related issues. To try to reduce the peripheral neuropathy, new guidelines for its management and the introduction of weekly schedules of administration have contributed to significantly decrease its incidence and the subcutaneous administration has been recently introduce to avoid the intravenous (IV) route. Results obtained in phase I/II and III studies have confirmed that subcutaneous administration is feasible and represents an additional step towards the optimization of bortezomib use, resulting in a probably more convenient method than the IV route that is at least as effective.
bortezomib; multiple myeloma; intravenous and subcutaneous formulations
Case reports of pulmonary toxicity have been published regarding bortezomib, lenalidomide, and thalidomide but there are no published reports looking at the possible long-term pulmonary effects of these medications. This article describes a possible relationship between the administration of bortezomib and thalidomide and the development of pulmonary function test (PFT) abnormalities. It also suggests that routine pulmonary function testing may be required in patients receiving these medications until larger studies can be performed to confirm this observation.
Multiple myeloma is a common malignancy accounting for approximately 1% of all malignancies worldwide. Bortezomib, lenalidomide, and thalidomide are immunomodulatory derivatives that are used in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM). There have been case reports of pulmonary disease associated with these agents, but the effect of these agents on pulmonary function test (PFT) results is unknown.
Patients and Methods
We reviewed the records of 343 patients with MM who underwent PFTs before autologous stem cell transplantation. One hundred nine patients had not received any of the 3 medications, whereas 234 had received 1 or more of these agents.
Patients exposed to bortezomib were more likely to have obstructive PFT results (P = .015) when compared with patients not exposed to this medication. Restrictive PFT results were more likely after exposure to thalidomide (P = .017). A logistic regression model was performed and when adjusted for age, sex, Durie-Salmon (DS) stage, body mass index (BMI), time from diagnosis to transplantation in days, and smoking history, the odds of obstruction were 1.96 times higher for patients who received bortezomib. The odds of restriction were 1.97 times higher after exposure to thalidomide.
There appears to be a risk of PFT abnormalities developing in patients treated with bortezomib and thalidomide.
Airflow obstruction; Bortezomib; Lenalidomide; Multiple myeloma; Pulmonary function tests; Thalidomide
Autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) is an effective treatment for multiple myeloma (MM). However the timing of ASCT in the era of novel agents (lenalidomide, thalidomide, bortezomib) is unknown. We retrospectively reviewed the outcome of MM patients who received novel agent based induction treatment and received first ASCT within 12 months of diagnosis (early ASCT, N = 102), or at a later date (late ASCT, N = 65). Median time to ASCT was 7.9 months vs. 17.7 months in the early vs. late ASCT. The 3 and 5 yr overall Survival (OS) from diagnosis was 90 and 63% versus 82 and 63% in early and late ASCT respectively (P=0.45). Forty-one and 36 patients in the early and late ASCT have relapsed or progressed with median time to relapse of 28 and 23 mos (p=0.055). On multivariable analysis, factors predictive of increased risk for progression were ISS stage III (p=0.007), and < VGPR post-ASCT (p<0.001). Factor predictive of worst outcomes for OS was being on hemodialysis (p=0.037). No superiority of one agent was seen. In summary, early or late ASCT is a viable option for MM patients receiving induction treatment with novel targeted therapies.
Multiple Myeloma; Transplantation; Bortezomib; Lenalidomide
Conventional chemotherapy has been used in the treatment of multiple myeloma. However the development of autologous stem cell transplant represented a major advance in its therapy. Complete response (CR) rates to the tune of 40-45% were seen and this translated into improvements in progression-free survival and also overall survival in some studies. As a result the autologous stem cell transplants (ASCT) is the standard of care in eligible patients and can be carried out with low treatment-related mortality. Allogenic transplant carries the potential for cure but the high mortality associated with the myeloablative transplant has made it unpopular. Reduced Intensity Stem Cell Transplants (RIST) have been tried with varying success but with a high degree of morbidity as compared to the ASCT. Introduction of newer agents like thalidomide, lenalidomide, bortezomib and liposomal doxorubicin into the induction regimens has resulted in higher CR and very good partial response rates (VGPR) as well as improvement in ease of administration. These drugs have also proved useful in patients with adverse cytogenetics. Recent trials suggest that this has translated into improvements in response rates post-ASCT. There is a suggestion that patients achieving CR/nCR or VGPR after induction therapy should be placed on maintenance and ASCT then could be used as a treatment strategy at relapse. All these trends however await confirmation from further trials. Tandem transplants have been used to augment the results obtained with ASCT and have demonstrated their utility in patients who achieved only a partial response or stable disease in response to the first transplant as well as patients with adverse cytogenetics. Incorporation of bortezomib along with melphalan into the conditioning regimen has also been tried. RIST following ASCT has been tried with varying success but does not offer any major advantage over ASCT and is associated with higher morbidity. It is hoped that recent advances in therapy will contribute greatly to improved survival.
Conventional chemotherapy; high dose stem cell therapy; multiple myeloma