Despite the good response of stem cell transplant (SCT) in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), most patients relapse or do not achieve complete remission, suggesting that additional treatment is needed. We assessed the impact of thalidomide in maintenance after SCT in untreated patients with MM. A hundred and eight patients (<70 years old) were randomized to receive maintenance with dexamethasone (arm A; n = 52) or dexamethasone with thalidomide (arm B; n = 56; 200 mg daily) for 12 months or until disease progression. After a median follow-up of 27 months, an intention to treat analysis showed a 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) of 30% in arm A (95% CI 22-38) and 64% in arm B (95% CI 57-71; P = 0.002), with median PFS of 19 months and 36 months, respectively. In patients who did not achieve at least a very good partial response, the PFS at 2 years was significantly higher when in use of thalidomide (19 vs. 59%; P = 0.002). Overall survival at 2 years was not significantly improved (70 vs. 85% in arm A and arm B, respectively; P = 0.27). The addition of thalidomide to dexamethasone as maintenance improved the PFS mainly in patients who did not respond to treatment after SCT.
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