Long-term survival of stage I multiple myeloma given chemotherapy just after diagnosis or at progression of the disease: a multicentre randomized study. Cooperative Group of Study and Treatment of Multiple Myeloma

Br J Cancer. 2000 Apr;82(7):1254-60. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.1999.1087.


We conducted a randomized trial to evaluate whether melphalan-prednisone (MPH-P) treatment administered just after diagnosis improves survival of stage I multiple myeloma (MM). Between January 1987 and March 1993, 145 consecutive previously untreated patients with stage I MM were randomized between treatment with MPH-P (administered for 4 days every 6 weeks) just after diagnosis and treatment only at disease progression. Survival was not influenced by MPH-P treatment either administered just after diagnosis or at disease progression (64 vs 71 months respectively). Comparing the first with the second group the odds ratio of death is 1.17 (95% confidence interval 0.57-2.42; P = 0.64). Disease progression occurred within a year in about 50% of patients who were initially untreated. Response rate was similar in both groups, but duration of response was shorter in patients who were treated at disease progression (48 vs 79 months, P = 0.044). Patients actually treated at disease progression (34/70) survived shorter than those who had neither disease progression nor treatment (56 vs > 92 months; P = 0.005). Starting MPH-P just after diagnosis does not improve survival and response rate in stage I MM, with respect to deferring therapy until disease progression. However, patients with stage I MM randomized to have treatment delayed and who actually progressed and were treated had shorter survival than those with stable disease and no treatment. Biologic or other disease features could identify these subgroups of patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melphalan / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Melphalan
  • Prednisone

Supplementary concepts

  • AP protocol 2