Efficacy and safety of bortezomib with dexamethasone regimen in elderly newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients with co-morbidities
Bortezomib-based induction therapies have shown to increase complete response rates and are used as an upfront therapy for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients. The standard treatment uses twice a week bortezomib at 1.3 mg/m^2 with dexamethasone PO on the day of and day after bortezomib, however, peripheral neuropathy is often a dose-limiting factor. For elderly patients with multiple co-morbidities and polypharmacy, we propose an alternate schedule of once a week bortezomib IV at 1.6 mg/m^2 with dexamethasone PO on the day of and day after bortezomib. In this phase II, open-labeled, multi-site study, we hypothesize that patients receiving weekly bortezomib will have comparable efficacy as the standard twice a week schedule with increased convenience and lower toxicity profile, especially related to peripheral neuropathy. METHODS: 50 patients with newly diagnosed symptomatic multiple myeloma who were ineligible for transplant or postponed transplant were enrolled from 12 Veterans Affairs hospitals. One cycle consisted of once a week 1.6 mg/m2 bortezomib IV (days 1, 8, 15, 22) plus dexamethasone PO on the day of and after bortezomib (days 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23) for 4 weeks, with the 5th week off of treatment. Responding patients could receive up to 6 cycles. RESULTS: The median age of patients was 71 ± 1.46 years (range: 50-89) with β-2 microglobulin of 5.80 ± 0.46 mg/L and c-reactive protein of 10.61 ± 5.54 mg/L. Patients also had multiple co-morbidities including cardiovascular disease (76%) renal insufficiency (54%) and pulmonary problems (36%) and were receiving a median of 13 concurrent medications at baseline. Of the fifty patients, 43 patients were evaluable for response. Seven patients received <1 cycle or died before response could be evaluated. An objective response rate of 79% was observed in 43 evaluable patients with 14% achieving nCR/CR, and at least VGPR in 44% of patients. The median progression-free survival was 9.6 months and overall survival was 46.5 months. The most common toxicity of all grades was thrombocytopenia (42%), lymphopenia (46%), asthenia (48%), and constipation (38%). Peripheral neuropathy occurred in 24% with grade 3 neuropathy occurring only in 6% of patients. In conclusion, a weekly bortezomib plus dexamethasone regimen is efficacious and safe, with lower neurotoxicity in elderly patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma complicated by extensive co-morbidities and polypharmacy.