According to a new study it is observed that thalidomide is effective as first-line therapy for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients when combined with a standard chemotherapy agent. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. gave 60 newly diagnosed myeloma patients the drug thalidomide along with the synthetic steroid dexamethasone. Results show 55 percent of patients responded to the combination. Researchers also observed an improvement in associated symptoms and in disturbances in the blood.
Results also show the thalidomide combination was well tolerated. Researchers say current chemotherapy regimens used as initial therapy for multiple myeloma have significant toxicity. In addition, the thalidomide combination is administered orally while current chemotherapy requires intravenous administration.
Multiple myeloma is a malignant cancer of the plasma cell, which is a type of white blood cell found in many tissues of the body. As the cancer grows, it destroys normal bone tissue, which causes pain and crowds out normal cell production.
Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in the United States. It remains incurable despite the use of conventional and high dose chemotherapy.