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Plasma Cell Neoplasms (Including Multiple Myeloma) Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment for Multiple Myeloma


Lenalidomide has substantially greater myelosuppression but less neuropathy than seen with thalidomide; however, both have the same tendency for DVT.[5,30,31,32] DVT prophylaxis with 81 mg of aspirin has been proposed, but randomized clinical trials have not confirmed any benefit for this recommendation.[29] Empirically, the greater the number of risk factors for DVT, the more intense the recommendation for prophylactic anticoagulation. (Refer to the Thalidomide section of this summary for more information about risk factors.) As a result of predominant renal clearance, lenalidomide doses need to be reduced in the setting of impaired renal function (creatinine clearance, 30–50: 10 mg per day; creatinine clearance, <30: 15 mg every other day; dialysis, 15 mg on day after dialysis).[33]



  1. A prospective, randomized trial (NCT00111319) of 682 previously untreated symptomatic patients who were not candidates for stem cell transplantation because of age (one-third of patients >75 years) compared bortezomib combined with melphalan and prednisone with melphalan and prednisone alone.[6]
    • With a median follow-up of 37 months, the OS favored the bortezomib arm in the 3-year OS rates (69% vs. 54%, P = .03).[6][Level of evidence: 1iiA]
  2. A prospective, randomized study of 669 patients with relapsing myeloma, who had been treated previously with steroids, compared intravenous bortezomib with high-dose oral dexamethasone.
    • With a median follow-up of 22 months, the median OS was 29.8 months for bortezomib versus 23.7 months for dexamethasone (HR = 0.77, P = .027), despite 62% of dexamethasone patients crossing over to receive bortezomib.[7][Level of evidence: 1iiA]
    • Bortezomib-associated peripheral neuropathy is reversible in most patients after dose reduction or discontinuation.[8,34,35,36,37]
  3. A prospective, randomized trial (NCT00103506) of 646 previously treated patients compared bortezomib plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin with bortezomib alone.[38]
    • With a median follow-up of 7 months, the combination was better in both median time to progression (9.3 months vs. 6.5 months, P < .001) and in OS (82% vs. 75%, P = .05).[38][Level of evidence: 1iiA]

When bortezomib was incorporated with induction therapy, patients with unfavorable molecular cytogenetics did not show any difference in PFS or OS compared with patients with more favorable risk factors. The benefit from bortezomib appears to be maintained across risk groups, but not reproducibly in all studies.[39,40,41,42,43][Level of evidence: 3iiiD]

Because bortezomib is metabolized and cleared by the liver, it appears active and well tolerated in patients with renal impairment.[9,44,45] In a retrospective, nonrandomized comparison, bortezomib administered once weekly had significantly less grade 3 to 4 peripheral neuropathy (8% vs. 28%, P < .001) with no loss of efficacy compared with standard biweekly administration.[46]

Conventional-dose chemotherapy



WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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