Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow. While several clinical trials have demonstrated that maintenance therapy with lenalidomide reduces the risk of disease progression in patients with multiple myeloma, there have been no definitive results regarding overall survival.
While some previous studies found that maintenance lenalidomide after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant improved overall survival for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients, others showed no benefit to this approach. Philip McCarthy, Director of Blood & Marrow Transplant at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), will present the findings of an international team of researchers at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 52nd Annual Meeting in Chicago.
‘Lenalidomide maintenance following autologous stem cell transplant improves both survival and quality of life for patients with multiple myeloma.’
The new study is a meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials. It involved more than 1,200 participants. For this analysis, 605 patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma and treated with continuous lenalidomide (brand name Revlimid) following autologous stem cell transplant were compared to 604 patients who were treated with placebo or no maintenance. At seven years, 62% of those treated with maintenance lenalidomide had survived, compared to 50% of those in the control group. The benefit in overall survival was consistent across subgroups.
"Lenalidomide maintenance following autologous stem cell transplant can now be considered a standard of care for people with multiple myeloma," says Dr. McCarthy, senior author on the meta-analysis and Principal Investigator of the U.S. study, CALGB (Alliance) 100104. "The improvements over the last decade in terms of both survival and quality of life for patients with this disease are striking, and very encouraging."