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Zoledronic acid (Zometa) is more effective than clodronate at treating patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma and significantly improves survival in these patients, according to a study presented at the 2010 ASCOannual meeting.

The study, presented by Gareth Morgan, MD, of The Royal Marsden Hospital, Surrey, United Kingdom, evaluated the effect of zoledronic acid compared to clodronate plus antimyeloma therapy on skeletal-related events in 1,960 patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.

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After 3.7 years of follow-up, researchers found a 24% relative reduction in the number of skeletal-related events in patients treated with zoledronic acid (27%) compared to those treated with clodronate (35.3%).

“These data should be viewed in context of … historical data … [showing] that 50% of people get a skeletal-related event in control arms, so it’s a significant difference that would be even greater if you compared it to placebo,” Morgan said.

In addition, patients treated with zoledronic acid had an overall survival of 5.5 months longer (50 months) compared to those who were treated with clodronate (44.5 months). Those who were treated with zoledronic acid also had a 2-month longer progression free survival than patients who were not.

“The survival benefit was not related to the prevention of skeletal-related events but was an anti-myeloma effect,” Morgan concluded. 

Both the zoledronic acid and clodronate were generally well tolerated among the patients, Morgan added. ONA