Abstract 3884

Poster Board III-820

Background and Objective

Thalidomide/dexamethasone (thal/dex) combination has shown high activity in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) (Rajkumar SV. at al, J Clin Oncol 2006;24:431-436). In newly diagnosed patients, lenalidomide/dexamethasone (len/dex) has demonstrated superiority compared with high-dose dexamethasone alone (Zonder JA et al, Blood 2007;110:77). Although both thal/dex and len/dex are active in newly diagnosed MM, no randomized trial has been reported comparing these two regimens, and unfortunately none are ongoing or planned. We compared the efficacy and the toxicity of thal/dex and len/dex as primary therapy in 411 newly diagnosed MM patients treated at the Mayo Clinic.

Patients and methods

411 consecutive patients seen at Mayo Clinic between 2001 and 2008, who received induction with thal/dex (n=183) or len/dex (n=288) were retrospectively studied. Thalidomide was given at a dose ranging from 100 mg/day to 400 mg/day continuously; the lenalidomide dose was 25 mg/day, days 1-21 on a 28-day cycle. All patients received dexamethasone, either at high-dose (40 mg orally on days 1-4, 9-12, and 17-20) or at low-dose (40 mg orally day 1, 8, 15, 22); each cycle was repeated every 4 weeks. In addition, a case-matched subgroup analysis that adjusted for age, gender and transplantation status was performed among patients who received high-dose dexamethasone comparing the thal/dex (n=72) and len/dex (n=72) groups. Outcome was analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis. The Chi-square or the rank sum tests were used to compare variables. Time-to-event analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier method and all comparisons were determined by the log-rank test and by the Cox proportional hazards model.


On intention-to-treat analysis, of 411 patients, 80.3% versus 61.2% patients, respectively in the len/dex group and in the thal/dex group (p < 0.001), achieved at least a partial response. A significant difference between the 2 groups was found in terms of both very good partial response or better (34.2% vs 12.0%, p < 0.001) and complete response rate (13.6% vs 3.3%, p < 0.001). Duration of therapy was significantly longer in len/dex patients as compared to thal/dex patients: 36.7% vs 12.6% of patients who did not stop treatment to receive SCT were still receiving therapy at 1 year (p < 0.001).Time-to-progression was significantly better in the len/dex group than in patients receiving thal/dex (median 27.4 vs 17.2 months, HR 0.64; 95% CI 0.44-0.93; p = 0.019). Similarly, progression-free-survival was significantly higher in len/dex patients (median 26.7 vs 17.1 months, HR 0.69; 95% CI 0.48-0.98; p = 0.036). This translated into an increase in overall survival (OS) (median not reached for len/dex group compared to 57.2 months in thal/dex patients, HR 0.60; 95% CI 0.40-0.92; p = 0.018). Survival advantages were evident in patients presenting with International Staging System Stage (ISS) I/II (HR 0.57; 95% CI 0.32-1.00; p = 0.052) at diagnosis but not in patients with ISS stage III in subgroup analysis. There was a trend toward better OS in len/dex group compared to thal/dex group both for patients who underwent transplant and for patients who did not. A similar rate of patients experienced at least one grade 3 or higher adverse event (57.5% vs 54.6% in len/dex and thal/dex groups, respectively, p = 0.568). However, the toxicity profile was different in the two groups: major grade 3-4 toxicities of len/dex were hematological, in particular neutropenia (14% with len/dex vs 0.6% with thal/dex, p<0.001) while the most common toxicities in thal/dex were venous thromboembolism (15.3% vs 9.2%, p = 0.058) and peripheral neuropathy (10.4% vs 0.9%, p < 0.001). The data on efficacy and safety shown above were also confirmed in the subgroup case-matched analysis which included only high-dose dexamethasone patients.


This cohort study shows the superiority of len/dex in terms of response rates and survival, compared to thal/dex. The toxicity profile of the 2 regimens is different and len/dex treatment, although more active, was not associated with increased toxicity (grade 3-4 AEs). These data need to be carefully evaluated and randomized prospective phase III studies are necessary to confirm these results and determine the optimal initial therapy for MM.


Off Label Use: research drugs in combination to standard care. Lacy:celgene: Research Funding. Gertz:celgene: Honoraria; genzyme: Honoraria; millenium: Honoraria; amgen: Honoraria. Kumar:celgene: Research Funding; millenium: Research Funding; bayer: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Genzyme: Research Funding. Dispenzieri:celgene: Research Funding. Bergsagel:amgen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; genetech: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; merck: Research Funding; celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Witzig:celgene: Research Funding. Fonseca:medtronic: Consultancy; genzyme: Consultancy; celgene: Consultancy; amgen: Consultancy; BMS: Consultancy; otsuka: Consultancy. Greipp:celgene: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.