Maintenance therapy for multiple myeloma
Maintenance therapy is usually given after a stem cell transplant. Maintenance therapy may also be used after induction therapy in people who don’t have a stem cell transplant. A maintenance therapy drug is usually given in a low dose over a long period of time. This helps to keep the person in remission and prevent relapse. Because the drug is given at a low dose, there tend to be fewer side effects and the person is able to have a better quality of life.
Targeted therapy is the main type of maintenance therapy for multiple myeloma. Targeted therapy drugs used as maintenance therapy include:
- lenalidomide (Revlimid)
- bortezomib (Velcade)
- thalidomide (Thalomid)
Corticosteroids are steroid hormones that act as an anti-inflammatory by reducing swelling and lowering the body’s immune response (the immune system’s reaction to foreign substances). Sometimes corticosteroids are used along with or instead of targeted therapy as maintenance therapy for multiple myeloma. The most common corticosteroids used include:
- dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexasone)
Clinical trial discovery improves quality of life
A clinical trial led by the Society’s NCIC Clinical Trials group found that men with prostate cancer who are treated with intermittent courses of hormone therapy live as long as those receiving continuous therapy.