Blood. 2022 May 5;139(18):2747-2757. doi: 10.1182/blood.2021014635.
High-dose melphalan (HDM) and transplantation are recommended for eligible patients with multiple myeloma. No other conditioning regimen has proven to be more effective and/or safer. We previously reported in a phase 2 study that bortezomib can safely and effectively be combined with HDM (Bor-HDM), with a 32% complete response (CR) rate after transplantation. These data supported a randomized phase 3 trial. Randomization was stratified according to risk and response to induction: 300 patients were enrolled, and 154 were allocated to the experimental arm (ie, arm A) with bortezomib (1 mg/m2 intravenously [IV]) on days -6, -3, +1, and +4 and melphalan (200 mg/m2 IV) on day -2. The control arm (ie, arm B) consisted of HDM alone (200 mg/m2 IV). There were no differences in stringent CR + CR rates at day 60 posttransplant (primary end point): 22.1% in arm A vs 20.5% in arm B (P = .844). There were also no differences in undetectable minimum residual disease rates: 41.3% vs 39.4% (P = .864). Median progression-free survival was 34.0 months for arm A vs 29.6 months for arm B (adjusted HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.61-1.13; P = .244). The estimated 3-year overall survival was 89.5% in both arms (hazard ratio, 1.28; 95% CI, 0.62-2.64; P = .374). Sixty-nine serious adverse events occurred in 18.7% of Bor-HDM-treated patients (vs 13.1% in HDM-treated patients). The proportion of grade 3/4 AEs was similar within the 2 groups (72.0% vs 73.1%), mainly (as expected) blood and gastrointestinal disorders; 4% of patients reported grade 3/4 or painful peripheral neuropathy in arm A (vs 1.5% in arm B). In this randomized phase 3 study, a conditioning regimen with Bor-HDM did not improve efficacy end points or outcomes compared with HDM alone. The original trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02197221.