Is lenalidomide the standard-of-care after an autotransplant for plasma cell myeloma?

Giovanni Barosi, Robert Peter Gale

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Three randomized controlled trials and a meta-analysis reported lenalidomide given after high-dose therapy and an autologous hemopoietic cell transplantation is associated with increase in progression-free survival (PFS) and survival in persons with plasma cell myeloma (PCM). Based on these data, posttransplant lenalidomide is considered by many a standard-of-care in this setting. However, decisions on the use of new therapies should consider not only results of such trials and meta-analyses but also other factors including quality-of-evidence, anticipated desired and undesired effects of the drug, costs and feasibility of the therapy option. In this review, we critically analyzed evidence on posttransplant lenalidomide in PCM, and we identified criteria which should be considered in designating posttransplant lenalidomide the standard-of-care. Using Grading of Evidence, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach we judged posttransplant lenalidomide improves PFS with high-quality evidence. However, we identified inconsistency and imprecision as limitations in the conclusions regarding a survival benefit rating the quality-of-evidence for a survival benefit moderate. We also highlighted inconsistency in claims of an increased risk of new cancers associated with posttransplant lenalidomide. We emphasize the need for a value-based reasoning which considers PFS and survival as well as health-related quality-of-life and costs. We conclude the decision to use posttransplant lenalidomide should be individualized based on pre- and posttransplant variables such as remission state, risk category and/or posttransplant measurable residual disease (MRD)-test results. Validity of these variables in estimating benefits and risks of posttransplant lenalidomide should be tested in randomized clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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