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Hate Dex? Results Of This Study Might Be Good News!

Posted on November 01 2009 by Pat Killingsworth | 865 views

A friend forwarded me this article from the Journal of Leukemia and Lymphoma and the IMF. Looks like good news for relapsed multiple myeloma patients:

In a recent phase 2 clinical trial published in the journal Leukemia and Lymphoma, ten out of 23 participants with recurring multiple myeloma or other plasma cell cancers reached partial or complete remission on a steroid-free treatment regimen of Velcade (bortezomib), Doxil (doxorubicin liposomal), and thalidomide (Thalomid). The scientists at the State University of New York who performed the trial were looking for a treatment for people who cannot tolerate steroids.

Steroid-based drugs such as dexamethasone (Decadron) are common and effective multiple myeloma treatments but can have serious side effects, especially for people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Those with diabetes or high blood pressure can still take steroid drugs, but may need extra monitoring, according to the International Myeloma Foundation (pdf).

The State University of New York study looked at patients with relapsed multiple myeloma, plasma cell leukemia, or Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia who were receiving treatment at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. Study participants were put on a four-week schedule of Velcade, Doxil and thalidomide. Their progress was monitored after each four-week interval for four to six months.

After four to six cycles, four participants achieved complete remission and six achieved partial remission. Five out of the remaining 13 had minimal response or reached stable disease. Two people dropped out of the study early because they could not tolerate the side effects of the treatment.

The most common side effects, affecting at least half of the participants, included low numbers of platelets and infection-fighting white blood cells called neutrophils; mild paresthesia, or prickling feelings in the limbs, and moderate fatigue that made some everyday tasks difficult.

In their paper, the researchers said their steroid-free regimen was “promising” and called for research to repeat their results with a bigger pool of participants. The researchers also plan to study the regimen as a first-line treatment.

Seems like there is more good news about myeloma treatment options everyday!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Karyn Says:

    I am hating my steroids so this was VERY GOOD NEWS to read today, thanks!

  2. Pat Killingsworth Says:

    I didn't mind getting charged-up and the endless energy on my dex days. I also didn't mind not sleeping well for a night or two, once I learned not to even try and to get up at four or five am and work. What was bad for me was the muscle wasting… I lost almost twenty pounds of muscle on the stuff! Good luck… Sorry you have to take steroids at all! Pat

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