Dr. Berenson on Zometa as the Gold Standard for Myeloma
James R. Berenson, MD
Published Online: Thursday, February 9, 2012
James R. Berenson, MD, Medical and Scientific Director, Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, Chief Executive Officer, Oncotherapeutics, describes Zometa (zoledronic acid) as the new gold standard for reducing or delaying bone complications for patients with multiple myeloma (MM).
Older trials initially demonstrated that Zometa was equivalent to pamidronate, another bisphosphonate used to prevent bone complications. The MRC Myeloma IX trial, which investigated 1960 patients, found a connection between Zometa and an overall survival benefit.
The MRC Myeloma IX trial compared the addition of Zometa or clodronate to standard therapy in a randomized, phase III, head-to-head trial for patients with MM. The study found that Zometa was more effective at reducing the risk of skeletal-related events (SREs), including vertebral fractures and cord compression, and improved overall survival by 5.5 months when added to thalidomide.
It was discovered that the survival advantage demonstrated by Zometa was independent of its ability to prevent SREs. The antimyeloma aspects of Zometa can be demonstrated when it is given as a single agent. This ability is not present in other bone agents, such as pamidronate.
An improved assay for assessing MRD status in patients with multiple myeloma is contributing to the momentum for using MRD as a surrogate endpoint for survival in clinical trials and as a tool with the potential to help guide therapy choices.
Five early-phase clinical trials exploring chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy have been suspended temporarily in response to the deaths of 2 patients with adult B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia