Background: Patients with early stage myeloma are typically observed without therapy until symptomatic disease occurs. We have reported early results of therapy with single-agent thalidomide as initial therapy for early stage multiple myeloma in an attempt to delay progression to symptomatic disease (

). We now report the long-term results of this phase II trial.

Methods: Thirty-one patients with smoldering or indolent multiple myeloma were enrolled between April 1999–March 2002. All pts had bone marrow (BM) plasma cells >=10% and measurable disease defined as serum monoclonal (M) protein >=2gm/dL and/or urine M protein >=400mg/24 hours. Two patients were deemed ineligible because they were found to have received prior therapy for myeloma and were excluded from analysis. Thalidomide was initiated at a dose of 200 mg/day and increased as tolerated by 200 mg/day every 2 weeks to a maximum dose of 800 mg/day. The dose of thalidomide was decreased as needed to minimize toxicity. Treatment was continued until disease progression or serious toxicity, except for patients achieving less than a minor response (<25% paraprotein reduction) to therapy in whom therapy was stopped at one year. Response was defined as a decrease in serum and urine monoclonal (M) protein by 50% or higher. If the serum M protein was unmeasurable, a 90% or higher decrease in urine M protein was required. Responses need to be confirmed at least 4 weeks apart.

Results: Ten patients (34%) had indolent myeloma, including 4 patients with lytic bone lesions, 3 patients with anemia (Hb <11gm/dL), and 3 patients with both anemia and lytic bone lesions. Median follow up of living patients is 5.6 years (range, 4.0–7.1 years). Of the twenty-nine eligible patients, ten (34%) had a partial response to therapy with at least 50% or greater reduction in serum and urine monoclonal (M) protein. Three patients are still on study and receiving therapy. The remaining have gone off-study: seven patients (27%)had progressive disease while on therapy; other reasons for ending study treatment included completed therapy per protocol (2 pts), patient refusal (2pts), toxicity (8 pts), alternate treatment (3 pts), other medical problems (1 pt), died on study (1 pt), and other (2 pts). The median time to progression (TTP) was 3.2 years (95% CI 2.1–5.6 yrs). Median progression free survival (PFS) was 3.0 yrs (95% CI 2.0–5.1 yrs). Median overall survival has not been reached; 5 year survival rate by the Kaplan Meier method is 60%. Major grade 3–4 non-hematologic adverse events at any time during therapy were noted in 34% of patients; this includes 14% with grade 4 toxicity. Grade 3–4 toxicities occurring in more than one patient include neuropathy (2 pts) and sinus bradycardia (2 pts).

Conclusions: Thalidomide has activity in asymptomatic myeloma. This approach must be further tested in randomized trials to determine if the survival estimates are superior to observation. Given the activity of thalidomide, trials are also needed with lenalidomide.

Disclosures: Thalidomide- Smoldering Myeloma.; This trial was supported by Celgene Corporation. Dr. Rajkumar and Dispenzieri have received research support for clinical trials from Celgene.

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