December 6, 2010

MMRF Newsflash from ASH, Vol. 1, Anne Quinn Young, MPH


The MMRF team is on-site at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in Orlando and is pleased to share with you highlights from key sessions over the next two days. This first update focuses on new data presented on stem cell transplant and maintenance therapy following transplant. Subsequent updates will focus on new drugs in the pipeline. There were several key takeaways regarding transplant and maintenance therapy:

  1. The inclusion of Velcade (bortezomib) in an induction regimen prior to high-dose melphalan and stem cell transplant, as well as consolidation and maintenance therapy post-transplant, continues to lead to high response rates, particularly CRs and nearCRs. Moreover, Velcade continues to work as or nearly as effectively in patients with high-risk features like the deletion of 13q or translocation of chromosomes 4 and 14, ie, t(4;14).

  2. Maintenance therapy with Revlimid (lenalidomide) continues to delay disease progression (recurrence) when administered in low doses (5-15 mg continuously or for 21/28 days/month) following high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant. It is important to understand that we do not yet know if there is a survival benefit; longer follow-up is needed. We also do not yet know if there are specific patients who are more likely to benefit from maintenance and/or if there are patients who may not need maintenance therapy given the low risk nature of their disease. The MMRF is committed to better understanding the right therapy for each patient, and is investing in research to help answer these types of questions.

  3. In standard risk multiple myeloma patients, after three years of follow-up, there was no benefit in terms of delay of disease progression or survival for patients who received an autologous stem cell transplant plus a mini-allogeneic transplant vs. two autologous stem cell transplants. Given these results and the high rate of toxicities, any type of allogeneic transplant should be carefully discussed with your doctor and only considered within the context of a clinical trial. Follow-up of patients in the trial will continue should the long-term results yield new insights.

Stay tuned for continued updates over the next couple of days as more data are presented!