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Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia

Print version ISSN 1516-8484

Abstract

BITTENCOURT, Rosane et al. Thalidomide and multiple myeloma: therapy evaluation using clinical and laboratorial parameters. Rev. Bras. Hematol. Hemoter. [online]. 2004, vol.26, n.4, pp. 245-255. ISSN 1516-8484.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-84842004000400004.

Over the last two decades, we have seen a radical change in therapy and progression of multiple myeloma, a malignant hematologic disease that is still considered fatal. Recent investment and research on mechanisms that interfere in the physiopathogenesis and bone marrow microenvironment are turning control and regression of the malignant plasma cell clone into something achievable, which may change expectations related to this disease. The new idea of using an old drug, thalidomide, has shown to be effective in multiple myeloma. In 1997, using the known effects of immunomodulation and anti-angiogenesis of this drug, clinical trials were started in patients with unresponsive disease. Other therapeutic interventions in the bone marrow microenvironment and plasma cells have been added and proved to be efficacious, not only as a therapy for refractory patients, but also for induction and/or remission maintenance therapy. Thirty-five patients with multiple myeloma were treated with low-dose thalidomide (100 mg) and followed up. Thirteen were on maintenance therapy after bone marrow transplantation, eleven started thalidomide after induction therapy, five after relapse, four were refractory to usual therapies and two had induction therapy with thalidomide. The study took place in the Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation service of the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, from March 2001 to December 2003. Hemoglobin levels, serum or urine immunoglobulin peaks and bone marrow plasma cell counts were evaluated. These parameters were assessed before starting with the drug and after 3.6 and 12 months of usage. The immunoglobulin level was considered the gold standard to evaluate the response. The results showed that 100 mg was the tolerable dose for 51% of the patients. Sixty-five percent of those who used thalidomide for induction therapy showed a 25 to 50% improvement in immunoglobulin serum levels and 90% of the patients on maintenance therapy (13 after bone marrow transplantation, 11 after induction), sustained the same immunoglobulin levels of the initial plateau.

Keywords : Thalidomide; multiple myeloma; anti-angiogenesis.

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