Multiple myeloma patients experience high response rates when treated with a drug regimen consisting of 3 drugs, according to data presented at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans in December.

In the multicenter study of newly-diagnosed patients with multiple myeloma, researchers examined patient response rate to RVD, a 3-drug regimen that combined lenalidomide, bortezomib, and dexamethasone, all which were previously found to be highly effective in multiple myeloma patients who had relapsed or no longer responded to first-line therapies.

Researchers reported the 3-drug regimen to be highly effective, with a partial response or better seen in all 66 patients treated with the drug combination, 74% of whom were described as having a “very good” partial response rate.

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According to the press release announcing the findings, patients with so-called “adverse cytogenetics” are at risk for treatment failure and death, but in the current study the drug combination worked as well for them as it did in patients with more favorable cytogenetic features.

“Our conclusion is that this is a highly-effective regimen for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients,” said lead author Paul Richardson, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “The combination has now gone into large phase 3 clinical trials, and we think it has the potential to be a new standard of treatment in multiple myeloma.”

The American Cancer Society has reported that an estimated 20 580 new cases will be diagnosed in 2009 and 10 580 patients will die from the disease.