Effect of thalidomide therapy on bone marrow angiogenesis in multiple myeloma

S. Kumar, T. E. Witzig, A. Dispenzieri, M. Q. Lacy, L. E. Wellik, R. Fonseca, J. A. Lust, M. A. Gertz, R. A. Kyle, P. R. Greipp, S. Vincent Rajkumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Bone marrow (BM) angiogenesis is increased in multiple myeloma and is an important prognostic factor for survival. Previous studies have shown that BM angiogenesis does not change following chemotherapy or stem cell transplant. Given its potential antiangiogenic effect, we evaluated if thalidomide therapy would affect the BM microvessel density (MVD). We studied BM angiogenesis in 81 patients with various disease stages treated with thalidomide with or without dexamethasone. MVD was determined as previously described. MVD was compared between pretreatment marrows and those obtained 4-6 months following therapy. The median (range) MVD pretherapy was 28 (2-116) and post-therapy was 15 (3-97). A partial or complete response was seen in 58% of patients, stable disease in 41% and progressive disease in one patient. MVD decreased significantly in responders (median decrease of 12, P<0.001). In contrast, no significant change in MVD was seen in those failing to respond to thalidomide. Unlike the lack of resolution of angiogenesis reported with other therapies, we demonstrate for the first time a significant decrease in microvessels with thalidomide therapy. Although not conclusive, this result lends further support to the hypothesis that angiogenesis is a relevant therapeutic target in myeloma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-627
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Antiagiogenic therapy
  • Neoplasia
  • Neovascularization
  • Plasma cell disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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