Multiple Myeloma Drug Classifications
Multiple myeloma drugs are put into classes based on three common features: similarities in behavior, similarities in chemical structure, and by the way they are used to treat a particular medical condition.
Classes of drugs used to treat multiple myeloma include:
- Cytotoxic chemotherapy, which has been a standard treatment for cancer for many years
- Immunotherapies and antibodies, which stimulate the immune system and enhance its ability to attack cancer cells, and represents the newest approach to multiple myeloma treatment
- Novel agents, which are newer drugs that work to kill myeloma cells in different ways than cytotoxic chemotherapy
- Drugs with novel mechanisms of action, which are drugs, often part of new classes of agents, that work to kill myeloma cells in different ways than other cancer therapies
- Steroids, which are drugs with anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects that are often used in combination with other myeloma drugs
- Targeted therapies, which include agents that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules that are essential for cancer cell survival
Research has shown that multiple myeloma treatment is particularly effective when drugs from different classes are given simultaneously, in combinations of two or three.