(HealthDay News) — In patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, novel agent-based continuous therapy (CT) significantly improves progression-free survival and overall survival (OS) compared with fixed duration of therapy (FDT), according to a study published online August 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Antonio Palumbo, MD, from Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino in Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from patients with newly diagnosed myeloma enrolled in three phase III trials that randomly assigned patients to novel agent-based CT vs. FDT.

The researchers found that over a median follow-up of 52 months, in the intent-to treat CT population (417 patients) vs. the FDT population (410 patients), there were significant improvements in progression-free survival 1 (time from random assignment until the first progression or death; median, 32 vs. 16 months; hazard ratio [HR], 0.47), progression-free survival 2 (time from random assignment until the second progression or death; median, 55 vs. 40 months; HR, 0.61), and OS (four-year OS, 69 vs. 60%; HR, 0.69).

“The improvement in progression-free survival 2 suggests that the benefit reported during first remission is not canceled by a shorter second remission. Progression-free survival 2 is a valuable end point to estimate long-term clinical benefit and should be included in future trials,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including to funders of the phase III trials.

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