Background: Increasingly thalidomide (Thal) plus dexamethasone (Dex) is being used as initial therapy for multiple myeloma (MM), but there is a need to minimize non-hematologic toxicity with this regimen. CC-5013 (lenalidomide; Revlimid™) is a more potent analog of thalidomide with significantly fewer non-hematologic toxicities that has shown promising results in relapsed refractory myeloma. We report the initial results of the first phase II trial using the combination of CC-5013 plus Dex (Rev/Dex) as initial therapy for newly diagnosed MM.

Methods: The trial is designed to accrue 31 eligible patients; 13 patients (pts) (11 male and 2 female) were analyzed in this interim report. Patients were enrolled between February 2004 and July 2004. CC-5013 was given orally at a dose of 25 mg daily on days 1–21 of a 28-day cycle. Dex was given orally at a dose of 40 mg daily on days 1–4, 9–12, 17–20 of each cycle. Patients also received an aspirin once daily as thrombosis prophylaxis. Response was defined as a decrease in serum monoclonal (M) protein by 50% or higher and a decrease in urine M protein by at least 90% or to a level less than 200 mg/24 hours. Responses were assessed on an intent to treat basis.

Results: The median age was 61 years (range, 32–78). 8 patients (62%) had Stage III myeloma. 11 of the 13 patients achieved an objective response yielding a response rate of 85% within 1–2 months of therapy. So far 6 patients have experienced grade 3 adverse events. These include one episode each of CD4-count < 200/mm3, anemia, neutropenia, increased liver enzymes, muscle weakness, agitation, hyperglycemia, cardiac arrhythmia, pneumonitis, and colonic perforation (underlying diverticulitis and dexamethasone suspected). No deep vein thrombosis or grade 4 or higher adverse events have been observed so far.

Conclusions: Rev/Dex appears active and well tolerated in the treatment of newly diagnosed MM and is a potential alternative to Thal/Dex. However, these results are preliminary and responses are still being evaluated and need to be confirmed in the final analysis of this trial. A large randomized trial using Rev/Dex as initial therapy for MM is expected to be activated by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group later this year.

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