Background: For patients with smoldering multiple myeloma, the standard of care is observation until symptoms develop. However, this approach does not identify high-risk patients who may benefit from early intervention.
Methods: In this randomized, open-label, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 119 patients with high-risk smoldering myeloma to treatment or observation. Patients in the treatment group received an induction regimen (lenalidomide at a dose of 25 mg per day on days 1 to 21, plus dexamethasone at a dose of 20 mg per day on days 1 to 4 and days 12 to 15, at 4-week intervals for nine cycles), followed by a maintenance regimen (lenalidomide at a dose of 10 mg per day on days 1 to 21 of each 28-day cycle for 2 years). The primary end point was time to progression to symptomatic disease. Secondary end points were response rate, overall survival, and safety.
Results: After a median follow-up of 40 months, the median time to progression was significantly longer in the treatment group than in the observation group (median not reached vs. 21 months; hazard ratio for progression, 0.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.09 to 0.32; P<0.001). The 3-year survival rate was also higher in the treatment group (94% vs. 80%; hazard ratio for death, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.10 to 0.91; P=0.03). A partial response or better was achieved in 79% of patients in the treatment group after the induction phase and in 90% during the maintenance phase. Toxic effects were mainly grade 2 or lower.
Conclusions: Early treatment for patients with high-risk smoldering myeloma delays progression to active disease and increases overall survival. (Funded by Celgene; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00480363.).