One more stem cell transplant (SCT) follow-up point and story. Medscape Medical News posted an article, Lenalinomide Maintenance Halves Multiple Myeloma Relapse, written by Zosia Chustecka just before the ASCO meetings this spring:
May 26 2010 — Patients with multiple myeloma who were treated with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation and then went on to receive maintenance therapy with lenalinomide (Revlimid) were half as likely to relapse as patients who were received placebo.
“These results are very promising,” said lead researcher Michel Attal, PhD, professor of hematology at Purpan Hospital in Toulouse, France. He emphasized that lenalinomide was very well tolerated, in contrast to thalidomide, which had rate-limiting toxicity when investigated as maintenance therapy in this setting…
The trial involved 614 patients with multiple myeloma who had received an autologous stem cell transplantation and high-dose chemotherapy induction… These results suggest that “maintenance therapy with lenalinomide can improve quality of life in patients with myeloma by delaying the need for more intensive therapy to treat a relapse,” Dr. Attal explained.
Here is a link back to the story if you would like to read more: Significant Improvement in Progression-Free Survival in Patients Using Post SCT Maintenance Therapy.
One of the compelling reasons for going to SCT right away after a short and successful induction therapy of three or four months has always been the hope and promise of living a number of months after transplant relatively drug free. Patients are told they can “get on with their lives” without the extra cost and hassle of chemotherapy for months or, hopefully years. Well, looks like you can kiss that argument goodby!
Several years ago, my medical oncologist, Dr. Anderson, suggested if I did decide to get a SCT, that he recommended post transplant maintenance therapy. Turns out he was right. But I remember asking, “Why even get a transplant if you are going to have to take the drugs after it is complete anyway? Why not just keep taking the drugs and skip the transplant?” Looks like we were both a bit “ahead of the times.”
But it does make you wonder: Why not wait?
Enough about transplants. Tomorrow let’s catch up on other new myeloma related news from the past three or four days. Feel good and keep smiling! Pat