Bortezomib and thalidomide, a steroid free regimen in newly diagnosed patients with multiple myeloma

Nilanjan Ghosh, Xiaobu Ye, Anna Ferguson, Carol Ann Huff, Ivan Borrello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite their efficacy in myeloma, corticosteroids have acute and chronic toxicities. Newer agents with significant anti-myeloma activity permit the development of steroid-free regimens. We designed a Phase II clinical trial to study the toxicity and efficacy of a steroid-free combination of bortezomib and thalidomide as a first-line treatment in patients with symptomatic myeloma. Patients received bortezomib 1·3mg/m2 on days 1, 4, 8 and 11 every 21d and thalidomide 150mg/d for a maximum of eight cycles. Amongst 27 evaluable patients, the overall response was 81·5% with 25·8% near complete response or greater. The response rate was comparable to most other two drug combinations for upfront therapy but lower than that obtained with the use of three drugs. The most common grade 3 toxicities were peripheral neuropathy (22%), pneumonia (15%), fatigue (7%) and anaemia (7%). Peripheral neuropathy completely resolved in 80% of the patients upon completion of therapy, but not in the remaining 20% of patients. No venous thromboembolic events were observed even in the absence of prophylactic anticoagulation. The median progression-free survival was 16·8months (95% confidence interval 8·7-21·6months). Median overall survival has not yet been reached at a median follow up of 39months. The 3-year overall survival was 74%. This study demonstrates: (i) the efficacy of a steroid-free regimen; (ii) mostly reversible treatment-related peripheral neuropathy; and (iii) the absence of venous thrombotic events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-599
Number of pages7
JournalBritish journal of haematology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Bortezomib
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Thalidomide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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