[First-line treatment of multiple myeloma]

Internist (Berl). 2019 Jan;60(1):23-33. doi: 10.1007/s00108-018-0527-x.
[Article in German]


Within the last two decades the therapeutic options for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma have changed dramatically. The implementation of high-dose chemotherapy with melphalan and subsequent autologous blood stem cell transplantation initially led to prolonged survival in younger, fit patients. Furthermore, recent data suggest that patients with high-risk disease seem to benefit most from tandem transplantation approaches. Therefore, risk stratification at initiation of first-line treatment is of great importance. With the advent and integration of the so-called novel agents, such as thalidomide, lenalidomide and bortezomib into first-line treatment, both transplant eligible and ineligble patients gained new therapeutic perspectives. In Germany, the combination of bortezomib with cyclophosphamide and dexamethasone is currently considered the standard of care as induction regimen before high-dose treatment and transplantation; however, the combination of lenalidomide, bortezomib and dexamethasone is increasingly being used, but is still not yet approved in Germany. For patients where high-dose therapy and stem cell transplantation are not feasible, bortezomib and lenalidomide are available as backbone agents of various combination regimens. Recently, the anti-CD38 antibody daratumumab has been approved in combination with bortezomib, melphalan and prednisone as primary treatment for newly diagnosed patients. An allogeneic stem cell transplantation can be considered for younger patients without relevant comorbidities and with high-risk disease or early relapse after autologous blood stem cell transplantation but should only be performed within controlled clinical trials and in specialized centers.

Keywords: Allogeneic blood stem cell transplantation; Antibodies; Autologous blood stem cell transplantation; Bortezomib; Lenalidomide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / supply & distribution
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bortezomib / therapeutic use*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Lenalidomide / therapeutic use*
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Myeloma / surgery*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Thalidomide / therapeutic use*
  • Transplantation, Autologous / methods
  • Transplantation, Homologous / methods


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Thalidomide
  • Bortezomib
  • Lenalidomide