Thalidomide and dexamethasone for resistant multiple myeloma


Dr Raymond Alexanian, Box 429, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030-4009, USA. E-mail:


Summary.  Between November 1998 and April 2000, the combination of thalidomide and dexamethasone was evaluated in 47 consecutive patients with multiple myeloma that was resistant to prior high-dose dexamethasone-based therapies. Remission was observed in 22 patients (47%), including six patients with complete remission. Side-effects were frequent, mild and usually reversible, but deep vein thrombosis occurred in 8% of patients. Survival and remission times were longer among patients treated for previous resistant disease rather than for resistant relapse. This experience supports the use of thalidomide–dexamethasone in myeloma patients with resistant disease and justifies further trials in newly diagnosed patients.