When I first started covering multiple myeloma news five years ago, an experimental drug, panobinostat, was one of the first to catch my eye. But after a hot start, “pan” was overshadowed by carfilzomib (Kyprolis) and pomalidomide (Pomalyst) and seemingly disappeared. I’m pleased to report that panobinostat may be making a comeback.
In an article written by Leah Lawrence for CancerNetwork.com earlier this month, Panobinostat Recaptured Response in Bortezomib-Refractory Myeloma Patients, Dana-Farber researchers revealed solid results when panobinostat was added to Velcade and dexamethasone. I will ask Dr. Richardson–lead investigator of the study and guest on October 24th’s Myeloma Cure Panel broadcast–to share his perspective about pan and the results of their trial.
55 patients who’s myeloma had become refractory (resistant) to Velcade and dex were restarted on the therapy, along with pan. The results? Just over half responded, although some for only for a month or two.
Still, the median progression free survival (PFS; the time it takes for a patient’s myeloma to become active again) was around six months.
The results of this study caught my eye because I would have been a perfect candidate for a study like this. Apparently Velcade/dex is no longer capable of keeping my myeloma under control by itself. If panobinostat were available to me, my doctors might decide to try it, hoping to buy us an extra six months or so before trying something else (Cytoxan, vorinostat, bendamustine) or moving in a completely new direction.
If you’re interested, here’s a link to the article:
I’m all for approving any drug–like panobinostat–that may buy us a few extra months. And who knows? Someday soon a strange, unexpected combination of drugs may hold the key to overcoming myeloma’s uncanny ability to develop resistance to all drugs currently available to our doctors. I would hate to see “bit players” like pan cast aside, simply because their trial results aren’t impressive enough.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat