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Single-Agent Bortezomib Effective for Multiple Myeloma

Peripheral neuropathy is reversible in most patients

WEDNESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Single-agent bortezomib is an effective treatment for patients with untreated multiple myeloma, and although peripheral neuropathy often develops, it is reversible in most patients, according to a study published online June 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Paul G. Richardson, M.D., from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues assessed safety, efficacy, and peripheral neuropathy in 64 previously untreated patients with multiple myeloma who were treated with bortezomib alone as part of an open-label phase II trial.

The researchers found that 41 percent of patients had at least a partial response for a median duration of 8.4 months. After a median follow-up of 29 months, the median time to progression was 17.3 months and the estimated one year median overall survival was 92 percent. The drug was generally well tolerated. Sensory polyneuropathy was present in 20 percent of patients at baseline and developed during treatment in 64 percent of patients, although this was resolved in 85 percent of patients in a median of 98 days.

"Single-agent bortezomib is effective in previously untreated myeloma," Richardson and colleagues conclude. "Baseline myeloma-associated neuropathy seems more common than previously reported, and bortezomib-associated neuropathy, although a common toxicity, is reversible in most patients."

The study was supported by the Public Health Service, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals Research & Development. Several authors have a relationship with these companies and others in the pharmaceutical industry.

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