Response rate, durability of response, and survival after thalidomide therapy for relapsed multiple myeloma

Shaji Kumar, Morie A. Gertz, Angela Dispenzieri, Martha Q. Lacy, Susan M. Geyer, Nancy L. Iturria, Rafael Fonseca, Suzanne R. Hayman, John A. Lust, Robert A. Kyle, Philip R. Greipp, Thomas E. Witzig, S. Vincent Rajkumar

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124 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess response rate, duration of response, progression-free survival, and toxicity of thalidomide in patients with relapsed multiple myeloma. Patients and Methods: Thirty-two patients with relapsed multiple myeloma were entered into the study between April 29, 1999, and June 20, 2000. They were given oral thalidomide at a dosage of 200 mg/d for 2 weeks, which was then increased as tolerated to a maximum of 800 mg/d. The primary end point of the study was response rate. Results: The median age of the patients was 67 years (range, 36-78 years). Prior chemotherapy had failed in all patients, and stem cell transplantation had failed in 5 patients (16%). There were 10 confirmed responses, yielding a response rate of 31%. In addition, there was 1 unconfirmed partial response and 7 minimal responses with no complete responses. The median duration of response was 11.9 months (range, 3.7-20.3 months). Overall, 20 patients have died, and 26 patients have experienced disease progression. The median follow-up of surviving patients was 28.5 months (range, 19.3-34.0 months), with a median progression-free survival of 8.6 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.7-16 months). The median progression-free survival among the responding patients was 15.7 months (95% CI, 8.6-25.6 months). The median overall survival for the entire group was 22 months (95% CI, 10.6-35.9 months). The most common treatment-related nonhematologic toxic effects (grade ≥3) were neuropathy (16%), sedation (13%), febrile neutropenia (6%), and constipation (6%). Conclusions: Thalidomide is useful in the treatment of patients with relapsed multiple myeloma and produced durable response in approximately one third of patients, with median response duration of nearly 1 year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-39
Number of pages6
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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