The IMF's Understanding series of booklets is designed to acquaint you with treatments and supportive care measures for multiple myeloma. These booklets are also available by mail order and communicate information in a format that is easy to read and understand.
Bisphosphonate therapy is given to patients with myeloma bone involvement. Approximately 80% of myeloma patients develop bone disease. Bisphosphonates help to prevent skeletal complications of myeloma, reduce bone damage and, when the myeloma is well controlled, allow bone healing to occur.
Clinical trials are research studies of new treatments that involve patients. Whether or not to participate in a clinical trial is one of the critical decisions you and your oncologist may have to make at some point in the cancer care continuum.
Darzalex® (daratumumab) is a laboratory-made monoclonal antibody that targets a specific single protein on the surface of myeloma cells. Of the four new therapies for myeloma approved in 2015 by the FDA, only Darzalex has single-agent activity and was approved with “breakthrough” status.
An important component of almost all myeloma therapies dexamethasone is a synthetic adrenocortical steroid, also known as glucocorticosteroid or corticosteroid. Dexamethasone is one of the most frequently used medications in the treatment of myeloma (also known as Decadron®, Dexasone®, Diodex®, Hexadrol®, and Maxidex®).
Empliciti® (elotuzumab) is the first immunostimulatory monoclonal antibody approved for the treatment of myeloma. Empliciti enlists immune system cells to attack myeloma. Before reading this booklet, it may be helpful to read another IMF publication, Understanding the Immune System in Myeloma.
Farydak is the first histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor approved for use in treating myeloma. Farydak is taken in capsule form in combination with Velcade® (bortezomib) and dexamethasone. by patients who have already been treated with Vel¬cade and an immunomodulatory drug.
Myeloma patients may experience fatigue caused by the disease, by treatment, and by the understandable anxiety and/or depression that affects many. This booklet contains a thorough examination of coping strategies and causes of myeloma fatigue, as well as suggestions for discussing fatigue with your doctor.
The serum free light chain assay (Freelite®) and the serum heavy/light chain assay (Hevylite®) are two tests used in the diagnosis and monitoring of myeloma. Since Freelite and Hevylite are independent biomark¬ers of disease activity, it is important to monitor patients with both tests.
As part of a first treatment regimen or at the time of disease relapse, high-dose therapy (HDT) with stem cell rescue (often called “stem cell transplant”) can provide significant remission and survival benefits. This booklet explains the rationale for, and process of, this treatment option for myeloma.
Kyprolis® (carfilzomib) is the second FDA-approved drug in a class of drugs called proteasome inhibitors, which block the activity of enzyme complexes called proteasomes. Proteasomes carry out the breakdown of proteins in a cell, a process that is necessary for the control of many critical cellular functions.
Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) are not active disease states, but both are precursor states to active myeloma. It is therefore important to understand if, when, and how active myeloma might evolve and what monitoring and/or interventions are appropriate.
Ninlaro® (ixazomib) is the first oral proteasome inhibitor approved by the FDA to treat myeloma. Ninlaro is the third drug in the proteasome inhibitor class that has been approved for myeloma. It is indicated for myeloma patients who have received at least one prior therapy.
Pomalyst® (pomalidomide) is an immuno¬modulatory drug that is used only for patients with relapsed and refractory myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies, including Revlimid® (lenalidomide) and Velcade® (bortezomib), and have demon¬strated disease progression on or within 60 days of completion of the last therapy.
Revlimid® (lenalidomide) is an immunomodulatory drug that inhibits new blood vessel development on which cancer cells depend for sustenance and growth. Revlimid is the first oral medication that was developed for treatment of myeloma, and it is used in the newly diagnosed and relapsed and/or refractory settings.
Thalidomide is an oral immunomodulatory drug that is widely used throughout the myeloma disease course in the frontline, consolidation/maintenance, and relapse settings. Immunomodulatory drugs induce immune responses, enhance the activity of immune cells, and inhibit inflammation by altering the levels of various growth factors.