Pomalidomide (POM) is the newest Immunomodulatory agent (IMiDs) that has shown clinical efficacy in relapsed multiple myeloma (MM) refractory to lenalidomide (LEN) and thalidomide (THAL). Studies of MM cell microenvironment suggest that tumor subclones compete for dominance during changes in drug therapy. It was previously observed that a minor clonal population increased in prominence of MM cells after 1 year of treatment with LEN. We examined whether the patients having THAL or LEN as the most recent prior-line therapy affects response to POM.


We studied 208 patients enrolled in a phase II trial of POM / dexamethasone between November 2007 and March 2012 at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. We reviewed the immediate prior-line therapy before enrollment in our trial. Comparison of treatment duration of POM and response rates were conducted between patients who had either THAL or LEN as latest prior-line therapy, and patients who were treated with non-IMiDs immediate before enrollment in POM trial. Treatment duration of POM was estimated using Kaplan Meier method and the survival curves were compared using log-rank test. We used univariate Cox proportional hazard models to estimate the prognostic impact of different variables.


The median age of patients was 63 (range from 32 to 88). 68 % were males. 80 patients (38.5%) had THAL or LEN immediate prior to POM. Median prior-line therapies were 3. Patients who received THAL or LEN immediately prior to POM had a lower response rate than those who had non-IMiDs as latest therapy (29% vs 44%, p 0.04) and shorter median duration of POM treatment (5.7 months vs 7.3 months, p 0.02). In 190 (91%) patients who were previously treated with LEN and THAL at any time, median time between the end of LEN or THAL treatment and the initiation of POM was higher for POM responders than non-responders (10 months vs 3 months, p 0.0008). Patients responded to POM had a shorter duration of prior LEN or THAL treatment compared to non-responders (9 months vs 15 months, p 0.001).


THAL or LEN as an immediate prior-line therapy to POM is associated with a lower response rate and shorter effective treatment duration. Longer interval between prior immunomodulatory compounds and POM, and shorter exposure to previous immunomodulatory compounds are associated with better POM treatment response.

Figure 1

Kaplan Meier Time to Discontinuation of Treatment - Immediate Prior IMiD vs Non-ImiDs

Figure 1

Kaplan Meier Time to Discontinuation of Treatment - Immediate Prior IMiD vs Non-ImiDs


Gertz:Celgene: Honoraria. Kumar:Merck: Consultancy, Honoraria; Celgene: Consultancy, Research Funding; Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Genzyme: Research Funding. Lacy:Celgene Corporation: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.