The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Revlimid® (lenalidomide), in combination with dexamethasone, for the treatment of multiple myeloma in patients who have received at least one prior therapy.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood that affects the plasma cells. Plasma cells are an important part of the immune system; they produce antibodies to help fight infection and disease. Multiple myeloma is characterized by an excess production of abnormal plasma cells. Symptoms include increased risk of bacterial infections and impaired immune responses.
Revlimid is an immunomodulatory agent. Revlimid fights cancer through several biological mechanisms, many of which are still being evaluated. One action Revlimid uses against cancer is to prevent or reduce blood vessel growth to the cancer. This ultimately “starves” the cancer cells of nutrients and oxygen. Revlimid continues to be evaluated in various types of cancers in clinical trials.
Researchers recently conducted a multi-center, phase III trial (phase of trial prior to FDA review), referred to as the MM-009 study, to directly compare Revlimid plus the commonly used steroid dexamethasone to dexamethasone only in the treatment of multiple myeloma that has stopped responding to prior therapies. The addition of Revlimid to dexamethasone improved outcomes for patients compared to dexamethasone alone.
Patients with multiple myeloma who have received prior therapy may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of treatment with Revlimid.
Reference: Celgene Corporation. Revlimid. Available at: www.revlimid.com. Accessed June 2006.
Addition of Revlimid® to Dexamethasone Improves Survival in Relapsed Multiple Myeloma (6/23/2006)
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