Published on January 30, 2019
At a recent town meeting in Atlanta, an audience member wants to know more about the long-term effects of the multiple myeloma therapy lenalidomide (Revlimid) on the body. Myeloma expert Dr. Jonathan Kaufman, from the Winship Cancer Institute, responds by explaining potential risks for patients on maintenance therapy and shares how patients can stay proactive throughout their treatment journey.
This town meeting is sponsored by Amgen, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Adaptive Biotechnologies. It is produced by Patient Power in partnership with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.
Transcript | What Are the Long-Term Effects of Myeloma Treatment?
Well, I've been on lenalidomide (Revlimid), 15 milligrams a day for two weeks and then off for two weeks for 11 years, and I don't know what end product thing of this could be. Could it be damaging to my body? I'm closely watched at Emory. I go once a month and we do the blood work, the urine and everything, and I feel wonderful about the care I've gotten there, but sometimes I wonder about the medication.
So, Dr. Kaufman, do we know long?term effects of Revlimid?
The big concern about maintenance Revlimid has been the increase in what's called second primary malignancies, other cancers. We know after treatment of myeloma stem cell transplant there's risk of other cancers developing, and there is a small but—and real risk, increased risk with Revlimid with second, with other cancers, the development of other cancers. But being on it for a very long period of time hasn't been shown to be the reason these other cancers develop. It's mostly when you mix certain types of drugs together that these other cancers develop.
Now, having said that, having myeloma, now that patients are living a long time, having myeloma or being on Revlimid doesn't protect you from getting other cancers, and everybody should still do their age-appropriate screening for other cancers.