Daratumumab May Be an Effective Treatment for Multiple Myeloma

ASCO Annual Meeting
May 30, 2015

According to a recent small study, the drug daratumumab may work well as a treatment for multiple myeloma after other treatments have not worked. About 26,000 Americans are diagnosed with multiple myeloma every year. Despite recent advances, treatments usually stop working to control the cancer’s growth.

Daratumumab is a type of targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival.

In this study, 106 patients whose disease had worsened after at least three previous treatments received daratumumab as the only treatment. Researchers found that after about nine months, daratumumab slowed the cancer’s growth for 29% of patients. In addition, three patients had a complete remission, which means that they had no signs of the cancer.

What this means for patients

“The efficacy we’re seeing is quite impressive for a clinical trial of multiple myeloma, given that many patients had already undergone five or more types of treatment,” said lead study author Saad Zafar Usmani, MD, a hematologist at Levine Cancer Institute/Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte, NC. “Our hope is that daratumumab will help fill the unmet need of patients who have exhausted available treatment approaches.”

In this study, the most common side effect was a reaction in the area where daratumumab was given. Other side effects included fatigue, low blood counts, back pain, and cough. Daratumumab is still being researched and may only be available through a clinical trial. Talk with your doctor for more information.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What are my treatment options for multiple myeloma?
  • What treatments have I already received?
  • If the current treatment stops working, what options are available?
  • What clinical trials are open to me? How do I find out more about them?

More Information

Guide to Multiple Myeloma

Targeted Treatments