Today many newly diagnosed myeloma patients will receive induction therapy and then go to stem cell transplant. At the European Hematology Association conference, Michele Cavo, MD, professor, Seràgnoli Institute of Hematology, Bologna University School of Medicine and and Noopur Raje, MD of Massachusetts General Hospital presented information about up-and-coming treatments for newly diagnosed patients.
According to Dr. Raje, major goals for newly diagnosed patients should be to:
Overall, the strategy will use induction therapy, transplant if possible, consolidation and maintenance.
Induction therapy, or the drugs given prior to transplant are key to making stem cell transplant effective. Responses to this first therapy has improved with the addition of newer drugs
In many of the sessions, investigators described the importance of patients receiving stem cell transplant after induction therapy if possible. The data from many studies shows considerable improvements in outcome with transplant vs. without.
Following a transplant, myeloma experts suggest doing 2-4 cycles of consolidation therapy. This is again using triplet combination therapies similar to those used during the induction phase to further improve the depth of responses. Maintenance therapy is long-term therapy. For high risk patients this may be a drug like ixazomib and for most patients lenalidomide will be used.
Myeloma specialists are increasingly tailoring treatment for patients in the following ways:
Myeloma researchers are now testing other triple induction combinations to see which are most effective and for whom. One study in progress is comparing KRd (carfilzomib-Revlimid-dex) vs. VRd (Velcade-Revlmid-dex). KRd vs. VRd Clinical Trial Another Phase III study is looking at weekly ixazomib-lenalidomide-dex for newly diagnosed patients. This would be an all-oral option. Dr. Shaji Kumar presented the study results at EHA to discuss patients who did not continue to transplant and were on the therapy for 56 months (65%). ILd Clinical Trial Another Phase II study is testing ixazomib-lenalidomide-dex before and after stem cell transplant followed by ixazomib maintenance which has had promising results. ILd Before/After Transplant Clinical Trial The future for newly diagnosed patients could include the use of a fourth drug to the induction treatment. When investigators tried adding Cytoxan as a fourth drug, it didn't have an impact. But the addition of daratumumab could be an effective option. In a Phase 1b study adding daratumumab to carfilzomib-Revlimid-dex, the depth of the response improved as the duration of treatment was given. For example, after 4 cycles, 10% of patients were in complete response (CR) or stringent complete response (sCR) and after 8 cycles, 57% of patients were in CR or sCR.
about the author
Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of Myeloma Crowd by HealthTree and the HealthTree Foundation.