According to an article recently published in the journal Blood, the treatment regimen referred to as VMPT provides effective therapy for patients with relapsed 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.
The optimal treatment of patients with multiple myeloma is rapidly evolving with the availability of novel treatment strategies; these include high-dose Alkeran® (melphalan) and autologous stem cell transplantation and new agents such as Thalomid® (thalidomide), Revlimid® (lenalidomide), and Velcade® (bortezomib). Relapsed multiple myeloma refers to cancer that has returned after initial treatment and stopped responding to prior therapies. Researchers continue to evaluate novel therapeutic agents and combinations of agents in the treatment of relapsed multiple myeloma.
Researchers affiliated with the Italian Multiple Myeloma Network, Gruppo Italiano Malattie Ematologiche dell’Adulto (GIMEA) recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate VMPT (Velcade, Alkeran, Thalomid, and prednisone) in the treatment of 30 patients with relapsed multiple myeloma.
- Partial regression of cancer (partial response) occurred in 67% of patients.
- At one year progression-free survival was 61%.
- At one year overall survival was 84%.
- Side effects that resulted in dose reductions or delays included low levels of immune cells (neutropenia) and low levels of platelets (thrombocytopenia).
The researchers concluded that the novel treatment combination referred to as VMPT provides significant anticancer activity for patients with relapsed multiple myeloma. Future clinical trials may evaluate VMPT as initial therapy for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.
Patients with refractory multiple myeloma may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial further evaluating VMPT or other promising therapeutic options.
Reference: Palumbo A, Ambrosini MT, Benevolo C, et al. Bortezomib, melphalan, prednisone, and thalidomide for relapsed multiple myeloma. Blood. 2007;109:2672-2673.