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New Clinical Trial Results Could Improve Survival for Myeloma Patients

The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) - supporting research and providing education, advocacy and support for myeloma patients, families, researchers and physicians// - today said physicians should consider lowering the dose of the steroid dexamethasone when treating patients with multiple myeloma.

High dose dexamethasone has been used as standard therapy for the treatment of myeloma alone and in combination with other drugs. However, interim findings from a large ongoing clinical trial of REVLIMID plus dexamethasone in newly diagnosed patients, suggest lowering the "dex" dose may not only reduce side effects, but also may improve survival.

The trial, known as E4A03, is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and led by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG). Based on these findings, ECOG has suspended further patient enrollment for this trial and has recommended that lower dose "dex" be considered for patients currently being treated on the high dose arm of the trial. Because of the public health implications, these findings are being made public immediately. The complete details will be presented at a cancer conference later this spring.

"Improved survival with low dose 'dex' and REVLIMID is an important finding because it further improves the outcome for an already successful treatment, while low dose dexamethasone is better tolerated by patients," said Brian G. M. Durie, M.D., chairman and co-founder of the International Myeloma Foundation. "We are recommending that physicians consider these findings when treating their patients across all stages of myeloma and that patients discuss these findings with their physicians."

Susie Novis, president and co-founder of the IMF, added, "These findings may also have wider implications for cancer treatments because they challenge the traditional notion that patients should be treated with the highest dose of medicine they can tolerate. Now we have evidence that
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