Benefit of continuous treatment for responders with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma in the randomized FIRST trial

Leukemia. 2017 Nov;31(11):2435-2442. doi: 10.1038/leu.2017.111. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


The phase 3, randomized Frontline Investigation of Revlimid and Dexamethasone Versus Standard Thalidomide (FIRST) trial investigating lenalidomide plus low-dose dexamethasone until disease progression (Rd continuous) vs melphalan, prednisone and thalidomide for 12 cycles (MPT) and Rd for 18 cycles (Rd18) in transplant-ineligible patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM) showed that Rd continuous prolonged progression-free survival and overall survival compared with MPT. A subanalysis of the FIRST trial was conducted to determine the benefits of Rd continuous in patients with NDMM based on depth of response. Patients randomized 1:1:1 to Rd continuous, Rd18 or MPT were divided into subgroups based on best response: complete response (CR; n=290), ⩾very good partial response (VGPR; n=679), ⩾partial response (PR; n=1 225) or ⩽stable disease (n=299). Over 13% of patients receiving Rd continuous who achieved ⩾VGPR as best response did so beyond 18 months of treatment. Rd continuous reduced the risk of progression or death by 67%, 51% and 35% vs MPT in patients with CR, ⩾VGPR and ⩾PR, respectively. Similarly, Rd continuous reduced the risk of progression or death by 61%, 54% and 38% vs Rd18 in patients with CR, ⩾VGPR and ⩾PR, respectively. In patients with CR, ⩾VGPR or ⩾PR, 4-year survival rates in the Rd continuous arm (81.1%, 73.1% or 64.6%, respectively) were higher vs MPT (70.8%, 59.8% or 57.2%, respectively) and similar vs Rd18 (76.5%, 67.7% and 62.5%, respectively). Rd continuous improved efficacy outcomes in all responding patients, including those with CR, compared with fixed duration treatment.

Trial registration: NCT00689936.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lenalidomide
  • Male
  • Melphalan / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Thalidomide / administration & dosage
  • Thalidomide / analogs & derivatives


  • Thalidomide
  • Dexamethasone
  • Lenalidomide
  • Melphalan
  • Prednisone

Associated data