, Volume 19, Issue 12, pp 947-953
Date: 23 Dec 2012

Continuous Low Dose of Melphalan and Prednisone in Patients with Multiple Myeloma of Very Old Age or Severe Associated Disease

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Introduction and Objective

The management of elderly patients with multiple myeloma is a relevant problem because it concerns a great number of patients. Patients with multiple myeloma who are very old or who have severe associated diseases have a dismal outcome. For these patients we retrospectively evaluated the effect of a mild approach with continuous low-dose melphalan and prednisone (cMP).

Design and Methods

109 patients with multiple myeloma, observed between 1985 and 2000, were treated with cMP; 67 were treated at time of diagnosis (group A; median age 78 years) and 42 as a second or subsequent line of therapy (group B; median age 72 years). The toxicity of the treatment was compared with a control group of 29 patients aged over 70 years, treated in the same institution with the conventional cyclical melphalan/prednisone regimen.


Major or minor responses were obtained in 32% of patients in group A and 13% of patients in group B. Disease was stabilised in 45% of group A and 47% of group B and progressed in 5 and 18%, respectively. Median survival was, respectively, 19 and 24 months in group A and B.

Among the 42 patients who received cMP as a second-line therapy (group B), 36 (86%) had previously been treated according to the standard cyclical melphalan/prednisone schedule; of these 12 (33%) obtained a better M protein reduction after cMP compared with the previous response to first-line cyclical melphalan/prednisone.

The cMP schedule was generally well tolerated, and the rate of haematological toxicity was lower than for a historical control group receiving cyclical melphalan/prednisone.


The cMP treatment schedule is well tolerated and results in a high proportion of patients with stable disease, with acceptable survival even in patients with advanced disease.