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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Revlimid Secondary Cancer Risk

Today I came across some information that puts my hairless pate issue onto the back burner.  A recent article in the Myeloma Beacon (see Helpful Links on the side bar of this page) reveals that the FDA has issued an extensive update about Revlimid (lenalidomide) and second cancers.

Here is a highlight from the article as it affects my situation:

"The new Food and Drug Administration’s analyses show that newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients treated with Revlimid maintenance therapy after stem cell transplantation are three times more likely to develop a second cancer than patients who do not receive Revlimid maintenance.

Data from three ongoing clinical trials show so far that 7.9 percent of newly diagnosed patients receiving Revlimid maintenance have developed a second cancer, compared to 2.8 percent of patient who received a placebo.  Patients receiving Revlimid were more likely to develop acute myelogenous leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  The median time from start of Revlimid treatment till diagnosis of a second cancer was two years."

Here is a link to the full article:

Now that has gotten my attention!  In February, I completed 7 cycles of RVD (Revlimid, Velcade, dexamethasone) induction therapy, which involved taking 25 mg of Revlimid for 21 days out of each 28-day cycle.  Now, as a followup to my stem cell transplant, I am scheduled to receive 4 more cycles of RVD consolidation therapy, which will involve taking 15 mg of Revlimid for 14 days out of each 21-day cycle.  Then, the plan is for me to go on a Revlimid maintenance therapy, which will involve taking 10-15 mg of Revlimid only on a daily basis for the next three years (emphasis mine).

That's a lot of Revlimid!  You might ask whether I plan to bring this issue to Dr. Richardson's attention during my DFCI visit next week.  To borrow a phrase from a former Vice Presidential candidate, "You betcha!".

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