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Bortezomib-Based Regimen Achieved Fourfold Increase in Complete Remission Rate for Patients With Multiple Myeloma

ATLANTA, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLNM) reported the presentation of results from an interim analysis of the first 256 patients evaluated in a multi-center, randomized Phase III clinical trial. This study compared VELCADE, thalidomide and dexamethasone (VcTD) to thalidomide and dexamethasone (TD) alone, currently the most commonly used U.S. regimen for patients with previously untreated multiple myeloma (MM). The trial was conducted by the Italian Myeloma Network (GIMEMA) cooperative group and selected for an oral presentation at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 49th Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Ga., December 8- 11, 2007.

"This VELCADE based induction regimen achieved a fourfold increase in the complete remission rate. Complete remission is widely recognized as a predictor for long-term survival," said Professor Michele Cavo, M.D., Seragnoli Institute of Hematology, University of Bologna and Principal Investigator of the trial. "These exciting results demonstrated that adding VELCADE to the standard induction therapy prior to stem cell transplantation improves the response rate dramatically."

Results from the large clinical trial were presented by Professor Cavo:

  • As induction therapy prior to stem cell transplantation (SCT), the VcTD arm demonstrated a complete remission (CR, including immunofixation positive and negative) rate of 36 percent compared to 9 percent in the TD arm (p Following transplantation, the VcTD arm demonstrated a complete remission (CR, including immunofixation positive and negative) rate of 57 percent compared to 28 percent in the TD arm (p Successful stem cell mobilization occurred in more than 90 percent of patients in both arms
"We are excited to see that the VELCADE combination continues to improve the complete remission rates of commonly used regimens to deliver significantly better results for patients," said Nancy Simonian, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Millennium. "This is one of the three Phase III front-line multiple myeloma trials presented at ASH that clearly establishes VELCADE as a leading therapy for patients with previously untreated multiple myeloma."

Patients in the VcTD arm received VELCADE at 1.3 mg/m(2) on days 1, 4, 8 and 11; dexamethasone at 40 mg each day of and after VELCADE; thalidomide at 200 mg daily on a 21-day cycle for three cycles. Patients in the TD arm received dexamethasone at 40 mg on days 1 through 4 and 9 through 12 of every 21-day cycle and thalidomide up to 200 mg on a 21-day cycle for three cycles. The primary endpoint of the trial is CR to induction therapy and secondary endpoints include post-transplant CR, time-to-disease progression (TTP), event-free survival (EFS), overall survival (OS) and toxicity. VcTD was a well tolerated induction regimen with the incidence of grade two and grade three adverse events similar in each arm.

About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematologic malignancy and although the disease is predominantly a cancer of the elderly (the median age of onset is 70 years of age), recent statistics indicate both increasing incidence and younger age of onset. In the U.S., more than 55,000 individuals have MM and 20,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Worldwide there are approximately 74,000 new cases and over 45,000 deaths annually.

VELCADE is being co-developed by Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C. Millennium is responsible for commercialization of VELCADE in the U.S., Janssen-Cilag is responsible for commercialization in Europe and the rest of the world. Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K. is responsible for commercialization in Japan. For a limited period of time, Millennium and Ortho Biotech Inc. are co-promoting VELCADE in the U.S. VELCADE is approved in more than 85 countries worldwide.

In the U.S., VELCADE is indicated for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior therapy. VELCADE is indicated for the treatment of patients with mantle cell lymphoma who have received at least one prior therapy. VELCADE is contraindicated in patients with hypersensitivity to bortezomib, boron, or mannitol. VELCADE should be administered under the supervision of a physician experienced in the use of antineoplastic therapy. In the European Union and many other countries worldwide, VELCADE is approved for patients with multiple myeloma after first relapse.

Risks associated with VELCADE therapy include new or worsening peripheral neuropathy, hypotension observed throughout therapy, cardiac and pulmonary disorders, gastrointestinal adverse events, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia and tumor lysis syndrome. Women of childbearing potential should avoid becoming pregnant while being treated with VELCADE. Cases of severe sensory and motor peripheral neuropathy have been reported. The long-term outcome of peripheral neuropathy has not been studied in mantle cell lymphoma. Acute development or exacerbation of congestive heart failure, and/or new onset of decreased left ventricular ejection fraction has been reported, including reports in patients with few or no risk factors for decreased left ventricular ejection fraction. There have been rare reports of acute diffuse infiltrative pulmonary disease of unknown etiology such as pneumonitis, interstitial pneumonia, lung infiltration and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in patients receiving VELCADE. Some of these events have been fatal. A higher proportion of these events have been reported in Japan. There have been rare reports of Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS) in patients receiving VELCADE. RPLS is a rare, reversible, neurological disorder which can present with seizure, hypertension, headache, lethargy, confusion, blindness, and other visual and neurological disturbances. VELCADE is associated with thrombocytopenia and neutropenia. There have been reports of gastrointestinal and intracerebral hemorrhage in association with VELCADE. Transfusions may be considered. Complete blood counts (CBC) should be frequently monitored during treatment with VELCADE. Rare cases of acute liver failure have been reported in patients receiving multiple concomitant medications and with serious underlying medical conditions.

Integrated Safety Data: Safety data from phase 2 and 3 studies of single- agent VELCADE 1.3 mg/m(2)/dose twice weekly for 2 weeks followed by a 10-day rest period in 1163 patients with multiple myeloma (N=1008) and mantle cell lymphoma (N=155) were integrated and tabulated. In these studies, the safety profile of VELCADE was similar in patients with multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. In the integrated analysis, the most commonly reported adverse events were asthenic conditions (including fatigue, malaise, and weakness) (64%), nausea (55%), diarrhea (52%), constipation (41%), peripheral neuropathy NEC (including peripheral sensory neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy aggravated) (39%), thrombocytopenia and appetite decreased (including anorexia) (each 36%), pyrexia (34%), vomiting (33%), and anemia (29%). Twenty percent (20%) of patients experienced at least 1 episode of greater than or equal to Grade 4 toxicity, most commonly thrombocytopenia (5%) and neutropenia (3%). A total of 50% of patients experienced serious adverse events (SAEs) during the studies. The most commonly reported SAEs included pneumonia (7%), pyrexia (6%), diarrhea (5%), vomiting (4%), and nausea, dehydration, dyspnea and thrombocytopenia (each 3%). Adverse events thought by the investigator to be drug-related and leading to discontinuation occurred in 22% of patients. The reasons for discontinuation included peripheral neuropathy (8%), asthenic conditions (3%) and thrombocytopenia and diarrhea (each 2%). In total, 2% of the patients died and the cause of death was considered by the investigator to be possibly related to study drug: including reports of cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, respiratory failure, renal failure, pneumonia and sepsis. This integrated analysis does not include the phase 3, VELCADE plus DOXIL study.

Source: Millennium Pharmaceuticals

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