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How effective is Velcade for multiple myeloma?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Nov 4, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Overview

  • Velcade has been shown in clinical studies to help people with previously untreated multiple myeloma live longer after having one year of therapy, but not all patients will respond to treatment.
  • In one study, patients receiving Velcade (with melphalan and prednisone) lived for 56.4 months compared to 43.1 months in people receiving melphalan and prednisone alone.
  • Velcade (bortezomib) is a targeted anticancer medicine given into a vein to treat adults with multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma.

How effective is Velcade for previously untreated multiple myeloma?

In one study of 682 patients at a 5-year follow-up, those who received Velcade plus melphalan and prednisone (MP) lived longer (56.4 months) than people who received melphalan and prednisone alone (43.1 months).

  • In this study, 50% of the people who were on the Velcade-based treatment continued to receive Velcade for 50 weeks out of a planned 54 weeks (9-cycles of treatment). The median age of patients was 71 years.
  • Overall, 69% of patients responded to Velcade treatment, with 30% achieving a complete response compared to 4% who achieved a complete response in the MP group. A complete response means all signs of cancer are gone (complete remission) but does not mean the cancer is cured.
  • In addition, 28% of those who achieved a complete response reached it after 24 weeks of therapy.

Velcade effects on multiple myeloma may occur later in treatment, so it is important to continue your medication as your doctor advises. In one study with Velcade, some people responded as early as 6 weeks but others did not have a treatment effect until 6 months.

Velcade (bortezomib) is a targeted anticancer medicine given into a vein to treat adults with multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer of the plasma cells. Velcade is also approved to treat another type of blood cancer called mantle cell lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

How effective is Velcade for relapsed multiple myeloma?

Your doctor may determine that retreatment with Velcade may be an option for you if you have multiple myeloma that has come back (relapsed). You may be a candidate if you previously responded to treatment with Velcade and it has been at least six months since completing your Velcade treatment. Not all patients will respond to treatment.

In relapsed multiple myeloma, Velcade was compared to high-dose dexamethasone in a study of 669 patients whose multiple myeloma had relapsed after 1 to 3 former treatments. Relapsed multiple myeloma has previously responded to treatment but has come back. Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid treatment that is stronger and longer-acting than prednisone.

  • In the study, the overall effectiveness showed that the median time to disease progression was 6.2 months for the Velcade group compared to 3.5 months for the high-dose dexamethasone group, a significant effect. Disease progression is when cancer continues to grow or spread.
  • In addition, 38% of patients achieved a complete response compared to 18% in the high-dose dexamethasone group. A complete response means all signs of cancer are gone (complete remission) but does not mean the cancer is cured.
  • The overall survival measured as the percent of deaths was 15% in the Velcade group compared to 25% in the high-dose dexamethasone group.

This is not all the information you need to know about Velcade (bortezomib) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full Velcade information and discuss this medicine and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

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