Melphalan was therapeutically effective in 13 of 36 patients with multiple myeloma, Jack Brook, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, reported to the American College of Physicians.
"This is significant since there is no other agent which is therapeutically effective in 20% or more of patients with this disease," Brook said.
The diagnosis of multiple myeloma was made by bone marrow aspiration or biopsy; patients demonstrated either serum and/or urinary protein abnormalities on paper electrophoresis, or had x-ray evidence of osteolytic lesions.
Patients were initially treated with melphalan doses ranging from 0.05 to 0.1 mg/kg of body weight per day. Melphalan was administered in 20 courses to 16 patients at a dosage schedule of 0.1 mg/kg/day. "Leukopenia developed during 17 courses with a median dosage of 3.3 mg/kg," Brook said. "Thrombocytopenia developed in ten courses and anemia in six courses. Because of marked hematological toxicity