The study will be published in the Nov. 1, 2002, issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. It is the first study to show that the oral combination of the drugs thalidomide plus dexamethasone provides treatment benefits equal to and in some cases better than the usual chemotherapy regimens administered to patients who are newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Previous studies at the University of Arkansas, Mayo Clinic and other cancer centers in the United States confirmed the use of thalidomide as an effective treatment for patients with relapsed multiple myeloma who had failed all other standard treatments.
The new study was a phase II clinical trial of 50 patients with newly diagnosed, active multiple myeloma. These patients ranged in age from 33 to 78. Of the 50 patients, 32 patients (64 percent) achieved a 50 percent or greater reduction in the amount of their tumor with the thalidomide plus dexamethasone treatment.
"The goal of both the standard chemotherapy approach and our research on the use of thalidomide plus dexamethasone is to reduce the amount of the cancer so patients can undergo stem cell retrieval and transplantation," says Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., a Mayo Clinic hematologist/oncologist and lead researcher on the study.
"Our study with thalidomide plus dexamethasone represents a significant advancement because physicians now have an alternative to the more toxic and cumbersome chemotherapy regimens used to treat patients with newly diagnosed myeloma," says Dr. Rajkumar. "For patients who are newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the study means they may not need to receive the series of intravenous chemotherapy treatments, and they won't experience the side effects often seen with such chemotherapy, inclu
Contact: Mary Lawson