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Bortezomib, a first generation proteasome inhibitor, is used in both newly diagnosed and relapsed myeloma settings. Considerable differences exist in the usage of bortezomib therapy in the clinical practice setting in comparison to clinical trial setting as well manufacturer's recommendations. These differences include route of administration (intravenous (iv) vs. subcutaneous (sc)), frequency from twice to once weekly, choice of alkylating agent used in combination with bortezomib (melphalan or cyclophosphamide), and choice of glucocorticoids (dexamethasone or prednisolone). We reviewed data from 272 consecutive bortezomib-treated myeloma patients, who received therapy within the regional Thames Valley Cancer Network for both newly diagnosed myeloma (NDMM, n = 120) and relapsed MM (RMM, n = 152). We investigated the influence of age, sex, transplant, bortezomib combinations (doublet vs. triplet), cumulative bortezomib dose per treatment line (<50mg vs. ≥50mg), and route of administration (iv vs. sc) on time to next treatment (TTNT) and on overall survival (OS). Route of bortezomib administration (iv vs. sc) influenced neither OS (41 vs 35 months, p = 0.5), nor TTNT (14 vs. 19 months, p = 0.052). Our study showed a statistically significant improvement in median OS in patients receiving a cumulative dose ≥50mg compared to <50mg (42 vs. 33months, p = 0.003), although presence of confounders need to be taken into account, such as disease stage, performance status, genetic changes and prior therapies. Median OS was longer using triplet therapies compared to a doublet in the RMM cohort (37 vs. 29 months, p = 0.06), although this did not reach statistical significance. Multivariate Cox Regression analysis showed that cumulative bortezomib dose ≥50mg (p = 0.002, HR = 1.83, 95% CI 1.25-2.67) and autologous transplant (p = 0.002, HR = 2.6, 95% CI 1.41-3.98) were both significant factors associated with improved OS. Our data argues in favour of continuing bortezomib for the recommended duration as per Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC), subject to good tolerability, in order to deepen response or extend the duration of best response.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Bortezomib, Cyclophosphamide, Disease-Free Survival, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Drug Administration Routes, Drug Administration Schedule, Female, Humans, Male, Melphalan, Middle Aged, Multiple Myeloma, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Sex Characteristics, Transplantation, Autologous, Treatment Outcome