Activity of 129 single-agent drugs in 228 phase i and II clinical trials in multiple myeloma

K. Martin Kortuem, Kaitlyn Zidich, Steven R. Schuster, Meaghan L. Khan, Victor H. Jimenez-Zepeda, Joseph R. Mikhael, Rafael Fonseca, A. Keith Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background More than 400 preclinical studies report > 1 compound as cytotoxic to multiple myeloma (MM) cells; however, few of these agents became relevant in the clinic. Thus, the utility of such assays in predicting future clinical value is debatable. Patients and Methods We examined the application of early-phase trial experiences to predict future clinical adoption. We identified 129 drugs explored as single agents in 228 trials involving 7421 patients between 1961 and 2013. Results All drugs in common use in MM (melphalan, dexamethasone, prednisone, cyclophosphamide, bendamustine, thalidomide, lenalidomide, pomalidomide, bortezomib, carfilzomib, and doxorubicin) demonstrated a best reported response rate of > 22%. Older agents, including teniposide, fotemustine, paclitaxel, and interferon, also appear active by this criterion; however, if mean response rates from all reported trials for an agent are considered, then only drugs with a mean response rate of 15% partial response are in clinical use. Conclusion Our analysis suggests that thresholds of 20% for best or 15% for mean response are highly predictive of future clinical success. Below these thresholds, no drug has yet reached regulatory approval or widespread use in the clinic. Thus, this benchmark provides 1 element of the framework for guiding choice of drugs for late-stage clinical testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-290.e5
JournalClinical Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Drugs
  • Early clinical trials
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Phase 1
  • Single-agent activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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