Alkylating agents have been the mainstay of multiple myeloma (MM) therapy for decades and despite introduction of several new therapies, it continues to play a significant role in its management as part of various drug combinations. While melphalan has been the most commonly used alkylator in MM, recent studies have suggested significant activity for bendamustine, a bifunctional alkylator. The combination of lenalidomide and melphalan has been associated with high response rates in relapse and newly diagnosed MM. Based on these promising results we designed a trial to evaluate the maximally tolerated dose of lenalidomide and bendamustine when used in combination as well as the efficacy of the combination in relapsed disease.
Patients with relapsed MM and measurable disease were enrolled on this phase 1/2 trial provided they had not more than 4 prior lines of therapy for MM, had adequate performance status and organ and hematological function. Patients refractory to lenalidomide were allowed to enroll. The primary objectives were to (i) to determine the MTD of bendamustine and lenalidomide in combination with dexamethasone in subjects with relapsed MM (phase 1) and (ii) to evaluate the confirmed response rate of bendamustine in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone in patients with relapsed MM (phase 2). Bendamustine (B) was administered on days 1 and 2 of a 28-day cycle at doses of 50–100 mg/m2. Lenalidomide (R) was given days 1–21 at doses of 15–25 mg daily. Dexamethasone (D) was administered at 40 mg weekly. Dose escalation was done using a 3+3 design and MTD was defined as one dose level below that resulted in >=2 DLTS among 6 patients. The primary end point for this trial was the proportion of patients with confirmed hematologic response (sCR, CR, VGPR, or PR) over the first 6 cycles of treatment.
A total of 72 patients were accrued to this study from March 2010 to May 2012: 21 patients in phase 1 and 51 in phase 2. The 6 patients from the MTD dose level of phase 1 were also included in phase 2. The median age of all 72 patients was 62.1 (range, 40–86) and 57% were male. Majority (75%) of patients had previously been exposed to lenalidomide and 69% had prior exposure to bortezomib. Median # of prior therapies was 3 (range, 1–5) and 74% of patients had a prior autologous stem cell transplant. Patients have received a median of 4 cycles (range, 1–25), with 27 patients still continuing on active treatment. Disease progression led to study discontinuation in 22 (49%) and adverse events were the reason for discontinuation in 14 (31%). In phase I, two DLTs (Grade (Gr) 2 neuropathy and Gr 4 neutropenia) were seen at the highest dose level (100 mg/m2 B, 25 mg R), and the MTD was determined as 75 mg/m2 of B given days 1 and 2 and 25 mg of R days 1–21, along with D 40 mg weekly. Overall patients, 12/21 (57%) had a PR or better. In phase 2, 17 (40%) confirmed responses (>=PR) were seen among the 43 patients evaluable for response (received at least 6 cycles of treatment or have gone off study prior to 6 cycles); including 9 (21%) VGPR and 8 (19%) PR. An additional 5 patients had a minor response. Over all dose levels, a gr 3 or higher adverse event at least possibly attributed to the study was seen in 75% of patients. The most common toxicities were all hematological (thrombocytopenia and leukopenia), and most common non-hematological toxicity was infection. Prolonged time to recovery of blood counts was seen in a few patients, but majority of patients were able to tolerate the regimen with adequate dose reductions.
The recommended dose of the combination for further studies is bendamustine at 75 mg/m2 days 1 and 2, lenalidomide 25 mg daily on days 1–21 and dexamethasone days 1, 8, 15, 22; with cycles repeated every 28 days. The regimen is well tolerated with hematological toxicity being the most common and manageable with dose reductions. The regimen is effective with high response rates and durable responses seen. Updated results with response rates and time to event analyses will be available for the entire cohort at the time of meeting.
Kumar:Merck: Consultancy, Honoraria; Celgene: Research Funding; Millennium: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Cephalon: Research Funding; Genzyme: Research Funding. Krishnan:celgene: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau. Zimmerman:Celgene: Honoraria; Millennium: Honoraria; Novartis: Expert Testimony, Expert Testimony Other. Vij:Teva: Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Millennium: Speakers Bureau; Onyx: Honoraria, Research Funding.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.