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Eur J Haematol. 2011 Jan;86(1):16-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0609.2010.01524.x. Epub 2010 Nov 22.

Addition of thalidomide to oral melphalan/prednisone in patients with multiple myeloma not eligible for transplantation: results of a randomized trial from the Turkish Myeloma Study Group.

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Department of Hematology, Faculty of Medicine, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey.


The combination of melphalan-prednisone-thalidomide (MPT) has been investigated in several clinical studies that differed significantly with regard to patient characteristics and treatment schedules. This prospective trial differs from previous melphalan-prednisone (MP) vs. MPT trials by treatment dosing, duration, routine anticoagulation, and permission for a crossover. Newly diagnosed patients with multiple myeloma (MM) (n=122) aged greater than 55 yr, not eligible for transplantation were randomized to receive 8 cycles of M (9 mg/m(2) /d) and P (60 mg/m(2) /d) for 4d every 6 wk (n=62) or MP and thalidomide (100 mg/d) continuously (n=60). Primary endpoint was treatment response and toxicities following 4 and 8 cycles of therapy. Secondary endpoints were disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS). Overall, MPT-treated patients were younger (median 69 yr vs. 72 yr; P=0.016) and had a higher incidence of renal impairment (RI, 19% vs. 7%, respectively; P=0.057). After 4 cycles of treatment (n=115), there were more partial responses or better in the MPT arm than in the MP arm (57.9% vs. 37.5%; P=0.030). However, DFS and OS were not significantly different between the arms after a median of 23 months follow-up (median OS 26.0 vs. 28.0 months, P=0.655; DFS 21.0 vs. 14.0 months, P=0.342, respectively). Crossover to MPT was required in 11 patients, 57% of whom responded to treatment. A higher rate of grade 3-4 infections was observed in the MPT arm compared with the MP arm (22.4% vs. 7.0%; P=0.033). However, none of these infections were associated with febrile neutropenia. Death within the first 3 months was observed more frequently in the MP arm (n=8, 14.0%) than in the MPT arm (n=2, 3.4%; P=0.053). Long-term discontinuation and dose reduction rates were also analyzed (MPT: 15.5% vs. MP: 5.3%; P=0.072). Although patients treated with MPT were relatively younger and had more frequent RI, better responses and less early mortality were observed in all age groups despite more frequent discontinuation.


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