According to an article recently published in the journal Blood, the treatment combination consisting of Thalomid® (thalidomide), Doxil® (pegylated doxorubicin), and dexamethasone is very effective and well tolerated in elderly patients with multiple myeloma.
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.
Treatment options for multiple myeloma were historically restricted to chemotherapy; however, treatment is rapidly evolving as newer agents such as Velcade® (bortezomib), Thalomid, and Revlimid® (lenalidomide) are becoming more commonly used. These newer agents tend to be well tolerated, which is an important consideration for elderly patients because they tend not to tolerate more aggressive therapies as well as younger patients. Researchers continue to evaluate novel treatment strategies in order to offer all patients optimal and individualized therapeutic approaches.
Researchers from Italy recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate Thalomid, Doxil, and dexamethasone in the treatment of elderly patients with multiple myeloma. Thalomid is an agent that interferes with the supply of blood to the cancer cells, ultimately starving the cancer of nutrients. In addition, Thalomid is thought to have biologic properties that stimulate the immune system to help fight cancer. This trial included 50 patients who were 65 years of age or older.
- Complete disappearances of detectable cancer occurred in 34% of patients.
- At two years approximately 30% of patients had a cancer recurrence.
- At three years overall survival was 74%.
- Partial regression of cancer occurred in 54% of patients.
- Patients with greater anticancer responses achieved better outcomes.
The researchers concluded that the treatment combination consisting of Thalomid, Doxil, and dexamethasone appears to be a very effective treatment option in elderly patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. Future trials comparing this regimen to others are warranted.
Reference: Offidani M, Corvata L, Piersantelli M-N, et al. Thalidomide, dexamethasone, and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (ThaDD) for patients older than 65 years with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. Blood. 2006;108:2159-2164.