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Lenalidomide in multiple myeloma: an evidence-based review of its role in therapy

Authors Richardson P, Mitsiades C, Laubach J, Schlossman R, Ghobrial I, Hideshima T, Munshi N, Anderson K

Published 17 November 2009 Volume 2009:4 Pages 215—245


Paul Richardson, Constantine Mitsiades, Jacob Laubach, Robert Schlossman, Irene Ghobrial, Teru Hideshima, Nikhil Munshi, Kenneth Anderson

Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center, Division of Hematologic Malignancies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Introduction: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a relatively common and incurable hematological malignancy. Currently, there is no single standard therapy, with choice of treatment dependent on individual patient factors. Lenalidomide is an immunomodulatory drug with potent antitumor, antiangiogenic, immunomodulatory, and proapoptotic activity in MM.

Aims: To evaluate the evidence for the use of lenalidomide in its current indication in relapsed or refractory MM, and additionally its investigational use for the treatment of newly diagnosed MM.

Evidence review: In patients with relapsed and refractory MM, adding lenalidomide to high-dose dexamethasone significantly improves response rates and time-to-progression, relative to high-dose dexamethasone alone. This translates into a significant extension of overall survival (with a median extension of 9.1 months in a pivotal phase III study). Outcome is independent of patient age, number of previous therapies, type of previous therapy (including thalidomide or autologous stem cell transplantation), renal impairment, and β2-microglobulin level. Evidence suggests that combining lenalidomide with low-dose dexamethasone improves outcomes in patients with newly diagnosed disease and is superior to lenalidomide combined with highdose dexamethasone. Myelosuppression is the predominant toxicity observed, although some studies have shown high incidences of venous thromboembolism in the absence of prophylactic antithrombotic anticoagulation therapy. There is currently only limited evidence regarding the health economics of lenalidomide.

Role in therapy: The encouraging results obtained with lenalidomide alone and in combination with dexamethasone in patients with relapsed or refractory MM have led to its adoption as a recommended therapy in patients who have received at least one prior treatment. Emerging evidence supports the ongoing investigation of lenalidomide in combination with low-dose dexamethasone, and in other combinations including bortezomib, for use both in relapsed, refractory, and newly diagnosed MM.

Keywords: lenalidomide, evidence, multiple myeloma, outcomes, treatment

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