(May 9, 2012 - Insidermedicine)
Taking lenalidomide, a medication popularly known as Revlimid, can help stave off the progression of multiple myeloma following a stem cell transplantation, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Here is some information on multiple myeloma:
• It is a cancer of the plasma cells located in the bone marrow
• Tumors form within solid bone, and the body has difficulty making healthy blood cells and platelets
• It mainly affects older adults
Researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute recruited 460 individuals who underwent a stem cell transplantation for the treatment of multiple myeloma. One hundred days after this treatment, the participants were randomly assigned to received lenalidomide or a placebo. They continued this treatment until their disease started to progress.
The response to lenalidomide was so positive that this trial was actually stopped early, and some of those who were in the placebo group started taking the active drug. When the study was first halted, 20% of the participants taking lenalidomide had experienced a progression of their disease or died, compared with 44% of those taking a placebo. After an average follow-up period of nearly 3 years, 37% of those taking lenalidomide experienced a progression of their disease or died, compared with 58% of those on placebo. It took an average of nearly 4 years for the participants taking lenalidomide to experience a progression of their disease compared with just over 2 years for those on placebo. Death rates were 15% with lenalidomide and 23% with placebo. New cancers occurred among 8% of patients on lenalidomide, compared with 3% of those on placebo.
We spoke with Dr. Philip McCarthy, PI of this study, who offered some further insight.
Today’s research demonstrates that lenalidomide shows promise for helping to slow the progression of multiple myeloma.