Purpose: This phase III international study compared the efficacy and safety of a combination of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) plus bortezomib with bortezomib monotherapy in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.
Patients and methods: Six hundred forty-six patients were randomly assigned to receive either intravenous bortezomib 1.3 mg/m(2) on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 of an every 21-days cycle, or the same bortezomib regimen with PLD 30 mg/m(2) on day 4.
Results: Median time to progression was increased from 6.5 months for bortezomib to 9.3 months with the PLD + bortezomib combination (P = .000004; hazard ratio, 1.82 [monotherapy v combination therapy]; 95% CI, 1.41 to 2.35). The 15-month survival rate for PLD + bortezomib was 76% compared with 65% for bortezomib alone (P = .03). The complete plus partial response rate was 41% for bortezomib and 44% for PLD + bortezomib, a difference that was not statistically significant. Median duration of response was increased from 7.0 to 10.2 months (P = .0008) with PLD + bortezomib. Grade 3/4 adverse events were more frequent in the combination group (80% v 64%), with safety profiles consistent with the known toxicities of the two agents. An increased incidence in the combination group was seen of grade 3/4 neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, asthenia, fatigue, diarrhea, and hand-foot syndrome.
Conclusion: PLD with bortezomib is superior to bortezomib monotherapy for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The combination therapy is associated with a higher incidence of grade 3/4 myelosuppression, constitutional symptoms, and GI and dermatologic toxicities.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00103506.