Revlimid After Stem Cell Transplantation Delays Progression of Myeloma, but Does Not Improve Overall Survival

In a Phase III clinical trial among patients who had undergone stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma, post-transplant maintenance therapy with Revlimid® (lenalidomide) significantly delayed cancer progression, but did not prolong overall survival. These results were presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). In 2013, there were an estimated 22,350 new diagnoses of multiple myeloma in the United States.

Revlimid is an oral medication that can stop or slow the growth of myeloma within the bone marrow. It has been approved in combination with dexamethasone for multiple myeloma patients who have received at least one prior therapy.

Maintenance therapy is treatment that is given after a patient responds to initial treatment, but before cancer progression. To evaluate whether Revlimid maintenance therapy improves outcomes among patients who have undergone a stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma, researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial known as the IFM 2005-02 trial. The study enrolled 614 patients under the age of 65 who had undergone autologous stem cell transplantation for initial treatment of multiple myeloma. Study participants received either Revlimid or a placebo. Results from this trial were previously presented in 2012 [1]; the current analysis updates those findings with a longer amount of follow-up [2].

  • Treatment with Revlimid delayed the progression (worsening) of myeloma. Progression-free survival was 46 months with Revlimid and 24 months with placebo.
  • Overall survival, however, was similar in the two study groups. Median overall survival was 81 months in the Revlimid group and 82 months in the placebo group.

These results suggest that Revlimid maintenance therapy provides an early benefit to patients who have undergone stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma (by delaying myeloma progression), but does not prolong overall survival.


[1] Attal M, Lauwers-Cances V, Marit G, et al. Lenalidomide Maintenance after Stem-Cell Transplantation for Multiple Myeloma. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012; 366:1782-1791

[2] Attal M, Lauwers-Cances V, Marit G et al. Lenalidomide Maintenance After Stem-Cell Transplantation For Multiple Myeloma: Follow-Up Analysis Of The IFM 2005-02 Trial. Presented at the 55th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition. New Orleans, LA. December 7-10, 2013. Abstract 406.

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