, Volume 90, Issue 10, pp 1161-1166,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 23 Jun 2011

Thalidomide, dexamethasone and lovastatin with autologous stem cell transplantation as a salvage immunomodulatory therapy in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma


The treatment of patients with multiple myeloma usually includes many drugs including thalidomide, lenalidomide and bortezomib. Lovastatin and other inhibitors of HMG-CoA reductase demonstrated to exhibit antineoplasmatic and proapoptotic properties in numerous in vitro studies involving myeloma cell lines. We treated 91 patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma with thalidomide, dexamethasone and lovastatin (TDL group, 49 patients) or thalidomide and dexamethasone (TD group, 42 patients). A clinical response defined of at least 50% reduction of monoclonal band has been observed in 32% of TD patients and 44% of TDL patients. Prolongation of overall survival and progression-free survival in the TDL group as compared with the TD group has been documented. The TDL regimen was safe and well tolerated. The incidence of side effects was comparable in both groups. Plasma cells have been cultured in vitro with thalidomide and lovastatin to assess the impact of both drugs on the apoptosis rate of plasma cells. In vitro experiments revealed that the combination of thalidomide and lovastatin induced higher apoptosis rate than apoptosis induced by each drug alone. Our results suggest that the addition of lovastatin to the TD regimen may improve the response rate in patients with relapsed or refractory myeloma.