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Drug Combination Effective for Multiple Myeloma

Better response rates, longer time to progression for thalidomide plus dexamethasone

THURSDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma have better response rates and longer time to progression when treated with thalidomide plus dexamethasone than dexamethasone alone, according to a report published online March 24 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

S. Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues randomly assigned 470 patients with untreated symptomatic multiple myeloma to placebo plus dexamethasone or thalidomide plus dexamethasone.

The researchers found that patients in the thalidomide plus dexamethasone group had a significantly higher overall response rate (63 percent versus 46 percent) and a significantly longer median time to progression (22.6 months versus 6.5 months) compared with those taking placebo plus dexamethasone. However, there were also more grade 4 adverse events in the thalidomide plus dexamethasone group (30.3 versus 22.8 percent).

"Thalidomide/dexamethasone results in significantly higher response rates and significantly prolongs time to progression compared with dexamethasone alone in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma," Rajkumar and colleagues conclude.

The study was partly supported by Celgene Corporation of Summit, N.J., and Pharmion Ltd. of Windsor, U.K.

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