Maintenance therapy with alternate-day prednisone improves survival in multiple myeloma patients

James R. Berenson, John J. Crowley, Thomas M. Grogan, Jeffrey Zangmeister, Adrienne D. Briggs, Glenn M. Mills, Bart Barlogie, Sydney E. Salmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


The role of maintenance therapy in multiple myeloma is controversial. Recent studies have shown an improvement in both progression-free and overall survival for patients receiving maintenance treatment with a combination of interferon and glucocorticoids, compared with interferon alone. The role of glucocorticoids alone as maintenance therapy has not been previously addressed. We compared alternate-day, oral prednisone at 2 different dose levels (10 mg versus 50 mg) for remission maintenance among previously untreated myeloma patients following a response to induction with standard-dose vincristine, doxorubicin, and dexamethasone with prednisone (VAD-P) or VAD-P plus quinine (VAD-P/Q). There were 250 eligible patients registered on Southwest Oncology Group study 9210 and randomized to receive VAD-P or VAD-P/Q. There were 125 patients achieving at least a 25% tumor reduction following induction therapy who were randomized to either physiologic (10 mg) or pharmacologic (50 mg) doses of alternate-day, oral prednisone until disease progression. At the time of study entry, patient characteristics were similar in VAD-P and VAD-P/Q patients and in the 2 arms randomized to maintenance therapy. After a median follow-up of 53 months, there was no difference in either progression-free or overall survival between the 2 induction regimens. However, from the time of maintenance randomization, both progression-free (14 versus 5 months; P = .003) and overall survival (37 versus 26 months; P = .05) were significantly improved in patients receiving 50 mg as compared with 10 mg alternate-day prednisone. There was no difference in treatment-related adverse events between the groups. Thus, 50 mg, oral, alternate-day prednisone is effective maintenance treatment for multiple myeloma patients who achieve a response to induction chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3163-3168
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2002
Externally publishedYes


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