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Combination Chemotherapy in Treating Patients With Multiple Myeloma

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
NCIC Clinical Trials Group Identifier:
First received: November 1, 1999
Last updated: September 20, 2012
Last verified: September 2011

RATIONALE: Drugs used in chemotherapy use different ways to stop tumor cells from dividing so they stop growing or die. Combining more than one drug may kill more tumor cells. It is not yet known which combination chemotherapy regimen is most effective in treating patients with multiple myeloma.

PURPOSE: Randomized phase III trial to compare the effectiveness of various combination chemotherapy regimens in treating patients with multiple myeloma.

Condition Intervention Phase
Multiple Myeloma and Plasma Cell Neoplasm
Drug: dexamethasone
Drug: melphalan
Drug: prednisone
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by NCIC Clinical Trials Group:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Overall survival [ Time Frame: 9 years ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

    To compare overall survival between:

    i) patients receiving melphalan-prednisone and those receiving melphalan-dexamethasone as induction therapy ii) patients maintained by dexamethasone and those on no additional treatment in the subgroup whose disease has not progressed at the time of the 12th induction cycle

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Time to progression [ Time Frame: 9 years ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Response rates [ Time Frame: 9 years ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Toxicity [ Time Frame: 9 years ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • Quality of Life [ Time Frame: 9 years ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Enrollment: 595
Study Start Date: May 1995
Study Completion Date: December 2009
Primary Completion Date: December 2003 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Melphan plus prednisone
melphalan plus prednisone qd x 4 28 day cycles x 12 cycles; No treatment after stable response.
Drug: melphalan
9 mg/m2 daily for 4 days given orally on an empty stomach every 4 weeks
Drug: prednisone
100 mg daily for 4 days given orally on a full stomach with each cycle of melphalan
Active Comparator: Melphan, prednisone pluse dexamethasone
melphalan plus prednisone qd x 4 28 day cycles x 12 cycles; dexamethasone qd x 4 q 28 days after non-progression
Drug: dexamethasone
40 mg daily for four days given orally and repeated every 28 days should commence on day 29 of the twelfth cycle of induction therapy.

Detailed Description:


  • Compare the overall survival of patients with previously untreated stage I-III multiple myelome treated with melphalan combined with dexamethasone or prednisone as induction therapy.
  • Compare the overall survival of patients with stable or responding disease after induction treated with dexamethasone vs observation alone as maintenance therapy.
  • Compare the time to progression, response rate, and quality of life of patients treated with these regimens.
  • Compare the toxic effects of these regimens in these patients.

OUTLINE: This is a randomized, multicenter study. Patients are stratified by center, stage (I or II vs III), creatinine (less than 2.0 mg/dL vs 2.0 mg/dL or greater), and intention to use prophylactic bisphosphonate (yes vs no).

  • Induction: Patients are randomized to 1 of 4 treatment arms.

    • Arms I and II: Patients receive induction comprising oral prednisone followed by oral melphalan on days 1-4.
    • Arms III and IV: Patients receive induction comprising oral melphalan and oral dexamethasone (DM) on days 1-4 of all courses and DM on days 15-18 of courses 1-3.

Induction for arms I-IV continues every 4 weeks for 12 courses in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients with stable or responding disease after induction proceed to maintenance therapy.

  • Maintenance:

    • Arms I and III: Patients undergo observation.
    • Arms II and IV: Patients receive oral DM on days 1-4. Maintenance therapy continues every 4 weeks for arms II and IV and every 3 months for arms I and III in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients on arms I-IV who develop disease progression proceed to reinduction.
  • Reinduction: Patients restart induction on the arm to which they were originally randomized. Reinduction continues every 4 weeks in the absence of stable response lasting 16 weeks, disease progression, or unacceptable toxicity. Patients who achieve a stable response lasting 16 weeks restart maintenance therapy. Patients who experience further disease progression during reinduction are taken off study.

Quality of life is assessed at baseline, on day 1 of courses 1-3 and then every 3 courses during induction, and then every 3 months during maintenance therapy.

Patients are followed every 6 months.

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A maximum of 600 patients will be accrued for this study within 6 years.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


  • Histologically proven previously untreated stage I-III multiple myeloma

    • Patients with stage I disease must be symptomatic
  • Must meet at least 1 of the following conditions:

    • Plasma cells in osteolytic lesion or soft tissue tumor biopsy
    • At least 10% plasmacytosis in bone marrow aspirate and/or biopsy
    • Less than 10% plasma cells in bone marrow but at least 1 bony lesion
  • Detectable serum M-component of IgG, IgA, IgD, or IgE

    • If only light chain disease (urine M-protein) present, urinary excretion of light chain (Bence Jones) protein must be at least 1.0 g/24 hours



  • 18 and over

Performance status:

  • ECOG 0-4

Life expectancy:

  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • No other concurrent serious illness
  • Concurrent diabetes allowed, at the discretion of the treating physician, if changes in insulin requirements can be managed
  • No other prior or concurrent malignancy except curatively treated nonmelanomatous skin cancer or carcinoma in situ of the cervix


Biologic therapy:

  • No concurrent immunizations
  • No concurrent filgrastim (G-CSF) or other growth factors as prophylaxis
  • Concurrent epoetin alfa for anemia allowed


  • No prior chemotherapy

Endocrine therapy:

  • Prior dexamethasone or prednisone with radiotherapy for spinal cord compression allowed if cumulative dexamethasone dose no greater than 120 mg and cumulative prednisone dose no greater than 792 mg
  • Prior or concurrent corticosteroids for hypercalcemia allowed


  • See Endocrine therapy
  • Prior focal radiotherapy allowed
  • Concurrent focal radiotherapy during induction allowed
  • Concurrent radiotherapy for palliation (e.g., painful osteolytic lesions or spinal cord compression) allowed


  • At least 2 years since prior surgery for radiologic or endoscopic diagnosis of gastric or duodenal ulcer


  • At least 2 years since prior medication for radiologic or endoscopic diagnosis of gastric or duodenal ulcer
  • Prior or concurrent bisphosphonates for hypercalcemia allowed
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00002678

  Show 37 Study Locations
Sponsors and Collaborators
NCIC Clinical Trials Group
Study Chair: Chaim Shustik, MD Royal Victoria Hospital - Montreal
  More Information

Additional Information:
Shustik C, Belch A, Robinson S, et al.: Dexamethasone (dex) maintenance versus observation (obs) in patients with previously untreated multiple myeloma: a National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group study: MY.7. [Abstract] J Clin Oncol 22 (Suppl 14): A-6510, 560s, 2004.
Shustik C, Belch A, Meyer R, et al.: Melphalan-dexamethasone is not superior to melphalan-prednisone as induction therapy in multiple myeloma. [Abstract] Proceedings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 20: A-1191, 2001.

Responsible Party: NCIC Clinical Trials Group Identifier: NCT00002678     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: MY7, CAN-NCIC-MY7, NCI-V95-0713, CDR0000064328
Study First Received: November 1, 1999
Last Updated: September 20, 2012
Health Authority: Canada: Health Canada

Keywords provided by NCIC Clinical Trials Group:
stage I multiple myeloma
stage II multiple myeloma
stage III multiple myeloma

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Multiple Myeloma
Neoplasms, Plasma Cell
Blood Protein Disorders
Cardiovascular Diseases
Hematologic Diseases
Hemorrhagic Disorders
Hemostatic Disorders
Immune System Diseases
Immunoproliferative Disorders
Lymphoproliferative Disorders
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Vascular Diseases
BB 1101
Dexamethasone 21-phosphate
Dexamethasone acetate
Alkylating Agents
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Antineoplastic Agents
Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
Autonomic Agents
Central Nervous System Agents
Enzyme Inhibitors processed this record on November 20, 2014