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A subcutaneous formulation of bortezomib is now indicated in the EU and the US for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma. This article reviews pharmacological, therapeutic efficacy and tolerability data relevant to the utilization of subcutaneous bortezomib (Velcade®) in the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma. In a randomized, nonblind, phase III study, subcutaneous bortezomib was noninferior to intravenous bortezomib in the treatment of adults with relapsed multiple myeloma, as determined by the overall response rate after four cycles of therapy (primary endpoint). No significant differences between the subcutaneous and intravenous bortezomib formulations were observed in the median time to first response, median progression-free survival, median time to progression and 1-year overall survival. Compared with intravenous bortezomib, subcutaneous bortezomib confers a significant advantage with respect to the incidence of peripheral neuropathy (all grades, grade ≥2 and grade ≥3). As a consequence, it provides a new treatment option for patients with multiple myeloma, particularly those with pre-existing neuropathy or at a high risk of developing peripheral neuropathy.
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