Thalidomide may delay the need for chemotherapy in some patients

A Mayo Clinic study is the first to show that for some patients with early stage multiple myeloma, the drug thalidomide may effectively delay the need for chemotherapy or more aggressive treatment for as much as two years. Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the bone marrow. The final results of the nonrandomized phase II clinical trial were published today in the April issue of the journal Leukemia. Because of the promising indications, preliminary findings were released about a year ago.

Thalidomide for multiple myeloma patients may lengthen survival

Nearly one-third of patients with advanced multiple myeloma who had failed current standard therapy of chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation responded to thalidomide for a median duration of nearly one year in a Mayo Clinic study of the effects of thalidomide on myeloma. The findings are reported in the January issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Many studies in the last three years have determined that thalidomide is effective in the treatment of multiple myeloma, following the initial report by researchers at the University of Arkansas. However, information is limited on how long thalidomide therapy works and on survival rates with such therapy.