Revlimid for multiple myeloma

3 Jun 2008

Immune modulator drug gives increased survival for multiple myeloma patients

A clinical trial presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting (ASCO 2008) evaluating Revlimid (lenalidomide) as a monotherapy has found it to be both effective and well-tolerated in patients who have been previously treated for multiple myeloma with two or more therapies.

In the study 26% of relapsed refractory multiple myeloma patients treated with Revlimid on its own achieved either complete or partial remission and 66% of patients experienced stable disease. The median overall survival was 1.9 years with 41% of patients alive after three years. Prior to this innovative therapy the median overall survival was less than a year. Additionally the duration of response was 13 months.

"Revlimid is a novel oral targeted immune modulator cancer therapy with impressive clinical data in both newly diagnosed and previously treated multiple myeloma that shows durable long-lasting results for patients" said Dr. Mohamad Hussein Head Multiple Myeloma Section Moffitt Cancer Center US. "This study demonstrates that [it] is effective in treating patients in which other therapies have failed without complimentary steroids or chemotherapy that can potentially cause serious side effects helping patients to live longer with a better quality of life."

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of one of the immune cells that affects production of red cells white cells and platelets. It is the second most prevalent and fastest growing of the blood cancers affecting an estimated 750000 people worldwide and 60000 patients in the US alone.

Revlimid is the newest of the ‘immune modulators' which have changed the outlook for patients with multiple myeloma and enable doctors to treat the previously incurable cancer as a chronic manageable condition. It is an oral drug that can be taken at home and lacks some of the difficult side effects associated with traditional chemotherapy because it targets the cancer cells directly along with the factors that support their growth.