Lenalidomide, Bortezomib, and Dexamethasone With or Without HCT in Younger Patients With Multiple Myeloma


Key Points

  • Consolidation with RVD was associated with poorer progression-free survival vs high-dose melphalan and autologous auto-HCT in patients aged ≤ 65 years with multiple myeloma.
  • No difference in overall survival was observed at 4 years.

A French phase III trial (IFM 2009), reported by Attal et al in The New England Journal of Medicine, has shown that consolidation treatment with lenalidomide (Revlimid), bortezomib (Velcade), and dexamethasone (RVD) was associated with poorer progression-free survival vs high-dose chemotherapy and autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (auto-HCT) in patients aged ≤ 65 years with multiple myeloma. However, no difference in overall survival at 4 years was observed.

Study Details

In the open-label trial, 700 patients from 69 sites in France, Belgium (6 total patients), and Switzerland (1 patient) were randomized between November 2010 and November 2012 to receive induction therapy with 3 cycles of RVD and then consolidation therapy with either 5 additional cycles of RVD (n = 350) or high-dose melphalan plus auto-HCT followed by 2 additional cycles of RVD (n = 350). Induction consisted of lenalidomide at 25 mg on days 1 to 14; bortezomib at 1.3 mg/m2 on days 1, 4, 8, and 11; and dexamethasone at 20 mg on days 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, and 12. After induction, all patients underwent stem cell mobilization with cyclophosphamide and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. Consolidation RVD included a reduced dexamethasone dose of 10 mg; melphalan was given at 200 mg/m2. Both groups received lenalidomide maintenance for up to 1 year at 10 mg/day for the first 3 months, with a possible dose increase to 15 mg thereafter. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival in the intent-to-treat population.

For the RVD vs auto-HCT groups: median age was 59 vs 60 years; 59% vs 61% were male; 60% vs 64% had immunoglobulin G (IgG) and 20% vs 21% had immunoglobulin A (IgA) myeloma; 33% vs 34% had International Staging System stage I, 49% in both had stage II, and 19% vs 17% had stage III disease; and among 256 vs 259 evaluable patients, 17% vs 18% had high-risk cytogenetic abnormalities (t[4;14] translocation, t[14;16] translocation, or 17p deletion).

Progression-Free and Overall Survival

In the RVD group, 331 patients (95%) entered the consolidation phase, and 321 patients (92%) entered the maintenance phase. In the auto-HCT group, 323 patients (92%) underwent transplantation, 315 (90%) began RVD after transplantation, and 311 (89%) entered the maintenance phase. Median duration of follow-up was 44 months in the RVD group and 43 months in the SCT group.

Median progression-free survival was 50 months in the auto-HCT group vs 36 months in the RVD group (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 0.65, P < .001). Benefit of auto-HCT was observed across all patient subgroups, including according to the stratification factors of disease stage and cytogenetic risk. The rate of complete or very good partial response was 47% vs 45% after induction (P = .87), 78% vs 69% after consolidation (P = .03), and 85% vs 76% after the maintenance phase (P = .009). Overall, complete response rates were 59% vs 48% (P = .03), and 79% vs 65% of patients had no minimal residual disease detected (P < .001). Progression-free survival was longer among patients with no detected minimal residual disease (adjusted HR = 0.30, P < .001).

Overall survival at 4 years was 81% vs 82% (adjusted HR = 1.16, P = .87). Median survival was not reached in either group. Overall survival was longer among patients with no detectable minimal residual disease (adjusted HR = 0.34, P < .001). Disease progression occurred in 207 patients in the RVD group; second-line therapy was received by 172 symptomatic patients with subsequent salvage transplantation in 136 (79%). Disease progression occurred in 149 patients in the auto-HCT group; second-line therapy was received by 123 symptomatic patients with subsequent second transplantation in 21 (17%).

Adverse Events

Grade 3 or 4 adverse events occurred in 97% of the auto-HCT group vs 83% of the RVD group; those that were significantly more common in the auto-HCT group were blood and lymphatic-system disorders (95% vs 64%, P < .001, including neutropenia in 92% vs 47% and febrile neutropenia in 15% vs 3%), gastrointestinal disorders (28% vs 7%, P < .001), and infections (20% vs 9%, P < .001). Grade 3 or 4 thromboembolic events occurred in 5.4% vs 3.7%. Treatment was discontinued due to adverse events in 11% vs 9%. The incidence of invasive second primary cancers was 1.5 vs 1.1 cases/100 patient-years (P = .37); acute myeloid leukemia occurred in 4 vs 1 patients. Treatment-related death occurred in 6 vs 2 patients.

The investigators concluded: “Among adults with multiple myeloma, RVD therapy plus transplantation was associated with significantly longer progression-free survival than RVD therapy alone, but overall survival did not differ significantly between the two approaches.” They noted: “[The progression-free survival] benefit must be weighed against the increased risk of toxic effects associated with high-dose chemotherapy plus transplantation, especially since we found that later transplantation might be as effective as early transplantation in securing long-term survival.”

The study was supported by Celgene, Janssen, and funds from the French Ministry of Health Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique and the French National Research Agency.

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