Revlimid® Improves Survival in Relapsed Multiple Myeloma

Revlimid® Improves Survival in Relapsed Multiple Myeloma.

According to two articles recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Revlimid® (lenalidomide) improves survival for patients with multiple myeloma that has returned following prior therapies.

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, an immunomodulatory agent, 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 clinical trials for various types of cancers. Revlimid is typically used in combination with the steroid dexamethasone; however, one concern about this combination is that high doses of dexamethasone are associated with an increased risk of thrombotic events (blood clots).

One trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine was conducted by researchers from the United States and Canada.[[1]](http://news.cancerconnect.com/revlimid-improves-survival-in-relapsed-multiple-myeloma/#_edn1 "_ednref1") This trial included 353 patients with multiple myeloma who had been treated with at least one prior therapeutic regimen. All patients were treated with dexamethasone. Approximately half was then treated with Revlimid, and the other half received placebo (inactive substitute).

  • Anticancer responses were achieved in 61% of patients treated with Revlimid and nearly 20% who received placebo.
  • The median time to cancer progression was 11 months for patients treated with Revlimid compared with 4.7 months for patients who received placebo.
  • Median overall survival was nearly 30 months for patients treated with Revlimid and 20 months for patients who received placebo.
  • Severe side effects occurred in 85% of patients treated with Revlimid compared with 73% of patients who received placebo.

The second clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine was conducted by researchers affiliated with the Multiple Myeloma (010) Study Investigators.[[2]](http://news.cancerconnect.com/revlimid-improves-survival-in-relapsed-multiple-myeloma/#_edn2 "_ednref2") This trial included 351 patients with multiple myeloma who had received prior therapies. All patients were treated with dexamethasone. Approximately half of the patients also received Revlimid, and the other half received placebo.

  • Time to cancer progression was over 11 months for patients treated with Revlimid compared with 4.7 months for patients who received placebo.
  • Anticancer responses were achieved in 60% of patients treated with Revlimid compared with 24% of patients who received placebo.
  • Overall survival was significantly improved for the group of patients treated with Revlimid compared with those who received placebo.
  • Severe side effects were mainly related to blood cell levels among patients treated with Revlimid.

The researchers concluded that the addition of Revlimid to dexamethasone improves anticancer responses, time to cancer progression, and overall survival compared to dexamethasone only among patients with recurrent multiple myeloma. Patients with recurrent multiple myeloma may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of treatment with Revlimid.

References:

[[1]](http://news.cancerconnect.com/revlimid-improves-survival-in-relapsed-multiple-myeloma/#_ednref1 "_edn1") Weber D, Chen C, Niesvizky R, et al. Lenalidomide plus dexamethasone for relapsed multiple myeloma in North America. New EnglandJournal of Medicine. 2007;357:2133-2142.

[[2]](http://news.cancerconnect.com/revlimid-improves-survival-in-relapsed-multiple-myeloma/#_ednref2 "_edn2") Dimopoulos M, et al. Lenalidomide plus dexamethasone for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. New EnglandJournal of Medicine. 2007;357:2123-2132.

Related News:Revlimid® Approved for Multiple Myeloma (08/16/2006)

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