New Hope for Multiple Myeloma Patients

Revlimid helps multiple myeloma patients live longer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) While there is no cure for multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, new therapy offers hope for keeping the disease from progressing. When used as a maintenance or ongoing therapy, Revlimid (lenalidomide) delays the progression of multiple myeloma and improves overall survival of newly diagnosed patients who have had a stem-cell transplant.

Patients receiving continuous lenalidomide therapy had an overall survival rate of 90 percent after more than two years following a transplant, compared to 83 percent for patients receiving a placebo (sugar pill).

"Revlimid is effective for treating multiple myeloma."

Lenalidomide maintenance therapy also resulted in longer remissions, delaying disease progression to about four years.

“This study answers the important question regarding continuous therapy, and the new survival data further validate long-term maintenance with lenalidomide as an important, and effective, treatment option for patients with multiple myeloma,” said Principal Investigator Philip McCarthy, Jr., MD, Professor of Oncology and Director of the Blood & Marrow Transplant Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI).

“The updated results...are important and welcome news for patients, especially because so many will relapse or have progressive disease even after a stem-cell transplant."

An oral medication, Revlimid is already used to treat myeloma that returns or persists despite therapy.

Multiple myeloma occurs when a type of immune cell, called a plasma cell, grows out of control and crowds out healthy blood cells in the bone marrow. The disease causes pain and gradually damages the bones and other organs.

An estimated 20,580 people were diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the United States in 2010.

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Review Date: 
May 16, 2011
Last Updated:
May 26, 2011