Developments in continuous therapy and maintenance treatment approaches for patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma

Meletios A. Dimopoulos, Andrzej J. Jakubowiak, Philip L. McCarthy, Robert Z. Orlowski, Michel Attal, Joan Bladé, Hartmut Goldschmidt, Katja C. Weisel, Karthik Ramasamy, Sonja Zweegman, Andrew Spencer, Jeffrey S.Y. Huang, Jin Lu, Kazutaka Sunami, Shinsuke Iida, Wee Joo Chng, Sarah A. Holstein, Alberto Rocci, Tomas Skacel, Richard LabotkaAntonio Palumbo, Kenneth C. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The evolving paradigm of continuous therapy and maintenance treatment approaches in multiple myeloma (MM) offers prolonged disease control and improved outcomes compared to traditional fixed-duration approaches. Potential benefits of long-term strategies include sustained control of disease symptoms, as well as continued cytoreduction and clonal control, leading to unmeasurable residual disease and the possibility of transforming MM into a chronic or functionally curable condition. “Continuous therapy” commonly refers to administering a doublet or triplet regimen until disease progression, whereas maintenance approaches typically involve single-agent or doublet treatment following more intensive prior therapy with autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) or doublet, triplet, or even quadruplet induction therapy. However, the requirements for agents and regimens within these contexts are similar: treatments must be tolerable for a prolonged period of time, should not be associated with cumulative or chronic toxicity, should not adversely affect patients’ quality of life, should ideally be convenient with a minimal treatment burden for patients, and should not impact the feasibility or efficacy of subsequent treatment at relapse. Multiple agents have been and are being investigated as long-term options in the treatment of newly diagnosed MM (NDMM), including the immunomodulatory drugs lenalidomide and thalidomide, the proteasome inhibitors bortezomib, carfilzomib, and ixazomib, and the monoclonal antibodies daratumumab, elotuzumab, and isatuximab. Here we review the latest results with long-term therapy approaches in three different settings in NDMM: (1) maintenance treatment post ASCT; (2) continuous frontline therapy in nontransplant patients; (3) maintenance treatment post-frontline therapy in the nontransplant setting. We also discuss evidence from key phase 3 trials. Our review demonstrates how the paradigm of long-term treatment is increasingly well-established across NDMM treatment settings, potentially resulting in further improvements in patient outcomes, and highlights key clinical issues that will need to be addressed in order to provide optimal benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalBlood Cancer Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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