The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the treatment combination consisting of Velcade® (bortezomib) plus Doxil® (doxorubicin HCl liposome injection) for the treatment of multiple myeloma in patients who have received at least one prior treatment but have not been previously treated with Velcade.
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. Because patients whose cancer has returned following prior therapy are typically considered incurable, treatment is aimed at improving the duration of survival as well as maintaining quality of life.
Velcade is considered a proteosome inhibitor. Proteosomes are proteins found in virtually all cells. They are responsible for the breakdown and reuse of a cell’s other proteins. Proteosomes regulate several aspects of cellular activity, including survival. By inhibiting proteosomes Velcade has demonstrated an ability to reduce cellular survival. Doxil, the other half of this treatment combination, is a chemotherapy agent that may be used in the treatment of ovarian cancer and Kaposi’s sarcoma.
The FDA approval of Velcade plus Doxil was prompted by an international Phase III clinical trial directly comparing Velcade plus Doxil to Velcade alone in the treatment of multiple myeloma that had progressed following prior therapy. In this trial cancer did not progress until 9.3 months for patients treated with Doxil/Velcade compared with only 6.5 months for patients treated with Velcade alone.
Patients with multiple myeloma that has either progressed following prior therapy or has not responded to standard therapy may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of treatment with the Velcade/Doxil combination.
Related News:Velcade® Safe and Effective for Patients with Multiple Myeloma and Kidney Failure(03/14/2007)
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