Bortezomib-dexamethasone is widely used for relapsed myeloma in routine clinical practice, but comparative data versus single-agent bortezomib are lacking. This retrospective analysis compared second-line treatment with bortezomib-dexamethasone and bortezomib using 109 propensity score-matched pairs of patients treated in three clinical trials: MMY-2045, APEX, and DOXIL-MMY-3001. Propensity scores were estimated using logistic regression analyses incorporating 13 clinical variables related to drug exposure or clinical outcome. Patients received intravenous bortezomib 1.3 mg/m(2) on days 1, 4, 8, and 11, in 21-day cycles, alone or with oral dexamethasone 20 mg on the days of/after bortezomib dosing. Median bortezomib cumulative dose (27.02 and 28.60 mg/m(2)) and treatment duration (19.6 and 17.6 weeks) were similar with bortezomib-dexamethasone and bortezomib, respectively. The overall response rate was higher (75% vs. 41%; odds ratio=3.467; P<0.001), and median time-to-progression (13.6 vs. 7.0 months; hazard ratio [HR]=0.394; P=0.003) and progression-free survival (11.9 vs. 6.4 months; HR=0.595; P=0.051) were longer with bortezomib-dexamethasone versus bortezomib, respectively. Rates of any-grade adverse events, most common grade 3 or higher adverse events, and discontinuations due to adverse events appeared similar between the groups. Two patients per group died of treatment-related adverse events. These data indicate the potential benefit of bortezomib-dexamethasone compared with single-agent bortezomib at first relapse in myeloma. The MMY-2045, APEX, and DOXIL-MMY-3001 clinical trials were registered at, respectively, clinicaltrials.gov identifier: 00908232, 00048230, and 00103506.
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