Lenalidomide offers an effective alternative treatment for cutaneus lupus erythematosus

December 7, 2012

Although rare there are several treatments available for cutaneus lupus erythematosus (CLE). However other options are needed for people who do not respond to medication or relapse. A new study into the thalidomide derivative lenalidomide, published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, shows that treatment with lenalidomide is safe, with patients seeing an improvement in as little as two weeks.

There have been several small scale clinical studies into the use of thalidomide for CLE for the third of patients which do not respond to the standard therapy including steroids, antimalarials and immunosuppressive agents. Although thalidomide has a bad press because of its effects on embryonic development, properly administered it is an effective alternative treatment for several types of cancer and inflammatory conditions, albeit with severe side effects which can limit continuous use.

Lenalidomide has been suggested as a more potent, but less toxic, alternative, and previous studies on a small number of patients have had encouraging results. In order to examine the efficacy of lenalidomide more thoroughly researchers from Vall d´Hebron University Hospital Research Institute, Spain, initiated a phase II clinical study, following 15 people with CLE, for between 7 and 30 months, all of which had previously not responded to traditional therapy.

All but one of the people involved in the trial saw clinical improvement and most of these (86%) had complete response, reaching a CLASI score of 0. Three quarters of people who improved with lenalidomide relapsed within 2-8 weeks of the medication being stopped or reduced.

In this study side effects were minor. Only two people reported side effects - although for one person their gastrointestinal symptoms meant that they stopped taking lenalidomide after one week. For both people the side effects disappeared once they stopped taking the drug.

Dr Josep Ordi-Ros, lead author of the study, explained, "The small impact of side effects in this study compared to others, may be due to the low dose of lenalidomide used. We also did not see any of the systemic (SLE) effects reported in smaller studies, even after 15 months of follow up. Nevertheless this regime was very effective in reducing disfigurement due to CLE and was similar in effect to but with lower toxicity."

While a phase II study is still comparatively small, its long length and the significant number of patients studied provides a firm basis for larger scale, randomized, clinical trials, and provides a more positive outlook for the use of in the treatment of CLE.

Explore further: Thalidomide induces complete response in cutaneous lupus

Related Stories

Thalidomide induces complete response in cutaneous lupus

March 1, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Low-dose thalidomide successfully induces complete response in a majority of patients with refractory cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE), according to research published in the March issue of the British Journal ...

Study urges caution with lenalidomide dosage

August 8, 2011
An early phase multiple myeloma trial has unexpectedly revealed that the drug lenalidomide interacts with another protein in cells that affect its dose level in the body, say researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive ...

Chemo combination promising for multiple myeloma

May 2, 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 rates, according ...

Study shows benefit of new maintenance therapy for multiple myeloma

May 11, 2012
Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer where the plasma cells in the bone marrow grow out of control, causing damage to bones as well as predisposing patients to anemia, infection and kidney failure. A medical procedure called ...

Recommended for you

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

Physical activity could combat fatigue, cognitive decline in cancer survivors

July 25, 2017
A new study indicates that cancer patients and survivors have a ready weapon against fatigue and "chemo brain": a brisk walk.

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

July 25, 2017
Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance ...

New therapeutic approach for difficult-to-treat subtype of ovarian cancer identified

July 24, 2017
A potential new therapeutic strategy for a difficult-to-treat form of ovarian cancer has been discovered by Wistar scientists. The findings were published online in Nature Cell Biology.

Immune cells the missing ingredient in new bladder cancer treatment

July 24, 2017
New research offers a possible explanation for why a new type of cancer treatment hasn't been working as expected against bladder cancer.

Anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent inhibits glioblastoma growth and radiation resistance

July 24, 2017
Glioblastoma is a primary brain tumor with dismal survival rates, even after treatment with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. A small subpopulation of tumor cells—glioma stem cells—is responsible for glioblastoma's ...

0 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.