Lenalidomide prolongs disease control for multiple myeloma patients after stem cell transplant

Multiple myeloma patients are better equipped to halt progression of this blood cancer if treated with lenalidomide, or Revlimid, following a stem cell transplant, according to a study co-authored by a physician with the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found a 63 percent reduction in the risk of progressive myeloma or death for the patients that were treated with lenalidomide maintenance therapy.

"These results add to the evidence that the combination of standard therapies such as stem cell transplantation with the emerging biologic therapies, like lenalidomide, have extended the lives of patients," said Richard Maziarz, M.D., of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute who was one of the study's co-authors. Maziarz serves as medical director of the Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Program & Center for Hematologic Malignancies at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. "We know that for at least three years following a transplant that maintenance therapy with this drug vastly improves the chances that the cancer won't come back and worsen."

These data were supported by similar Phase III studies reported from France and Italy in the same issue of the New England Jounal of Medicine demonstrating that maintenance therapy after stem was associated with improved disease control.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects plasma cells, a type of white blood cell normally responsible for producing antibodies. In patients impacted by multiple myeloma, collections of abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, interfering with the production of normal blood cells. The study focused on patients who received an autologous hematopoietic (AHCT). AHCT procedures use patients' own blood stem cells.

While lenalidomide increased a patient's ability to stave off progression of the disease, questions remain regarding future approaches recognizing that quality of life measurements were not incorporated within these studies, that long-term safety issues remain unclear as there was a small but discernable risk of second cancers observed in the treated patients. In addition to the need for that cost-benefit analysis, a comparison remains to be performed with other emerging myeloma maintenance therapies.

This Phase III study of lenalidomide was conducted at 47 medical centers and involved 568 . It was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Revlimid's manufacturer, Celgene Corp., provided the NCI with for this research.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New drug shows promise for myeloma patients

May 09, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Three new studies confirm that the drug lenalidomide can significantly lengthen the time that people with multiple myeloma experience no worsening of their disease, either after having a stem ...

Chemo combination promising for multiple myeloma

May 02, 2012

(HealthDay) -- For patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, combination treatment with elotuzumab, lenalidomide, and low-dose dexamethasone is generally well tolerated, with encouraging response ...

Recommended for you

Putting the brakes on cancer

Dec 19, 2014

A study led by the University of Dundee, in collaboration with researchers at our University, has uncovered an important role played by a tumour suppressor gene, helping scientists to better understand how ...

Peanut component linked to cancer spread

Dec 19, 2014

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that a component of peanuts could encourage the spread and survival of cancer cells in the body.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.