What You Should Know About Emerging Treatment Options for Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is the third most common blood cancer in the United States. In 2017, an estimated 30,280 adults will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the United States.
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Thursday, May 11, 2017
What You Should Know About Emerging Treatment Options for Multiple Myeloma
Provided By Janssen Biotech, Inc.

Multiple myeloma is the third most common blood cancer in the United States.1 In 2017, an estimated 30,280 adults will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the United States.2 Despite tremendous progress in recent years, most patients relapse or grow resistant to available treatment options.3,4,5

In an effort to raise awareness and empower those affected by multiple myeloma, here is some information about the progess—and future—of multiple myeloma treatment.

1. Researchers have made more progress in the past 10 years than any other cancer.6

Treatment options for multiple myeloma include chemotherapy, stem cell transplants, bisphosphonates, radiation therapy and/or surgery.7 In the early 2000s, we started to see improvements for patients with the approval of proteasome inhibitors (PIs) and immunomodulatory drugs.8 Since then, there are now several therapies that attack cancer cells.

2. New treatments have recently emerged to treat multiple myeloma.


In 2015 alone, 3 treatments were approved that have provided new options for patients with this disease.9 What’s been particularly exciting is a class of therapies called monoclonal antibodies that work in several ways. One way a monoclonal antibody can work is by attaching itself to multiple myeloma cells in the body and directly killing them, and/or allowing a person’s immune system to destroy them.10

One of these treatments is DARZALEX® (daratumumab), the first monoclonal antibody approved for treating multiple myeloma. DARZALEX® was first approved as a monotherapy for patients who have received at least 3 prior medicines to treat multiple myeloma, including a PI and an immunomodulatory agent, or did not respond to a PI and an immunomodulatory agent.11 It was more recently approved in combination with the medicines lenalidomide and dexamethasone, or bortezomib and dexamethasone for patients who received at least 1 prior medicine.11

3. There will be even more multiple myeloma treatments in the future.

The emergence of these treatments has created a sense of excitement and optimism in the multiple myeloma community. But there’s still more work to be done — especially for patients who have exhausted existing treatment options. Luckily, several clinical trials are ongoing to understand how investigational treatments can benefit these patients in need.

To learn more and stay up-to-date on the latest advances in multiple myeloma, you can visit the websites of the International Myeloma Foundation, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and American Cancer Society. These organizations, among others, offer a wealth of resources and support services for patients and caregivers near you.

Learn more about multiple myeloma treatment »


1 A Snapshot of Myeloma. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/research/progress/snapshots/myeloma. Published November 5, 2014. Accessed February 14, 2017.

2 SEER Fact Sheets: Myeloma. National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/mulmy.html. Accessed May 2, 2017.

3 Kumar, SK et al. Improved survival in multiple myeloma and the impact of novel therapies. Blood. 2008;11:2516-2520. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17975015. Accessed February 14, 2017.

4 Turesson, I et al. Patterns of improved survival in patients with multiple myeloma in the twenty-first century: a population-based study. J of Clinical Oncol. 2010;28:830-834. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834396/. Accessed February 14, 2017.

5 Kumar, SK et al. Risk of progression and survival in multiple myeloma relapsing after therapy with IMiDs and bortezomib: a multicenter international myeloma working group study. Leukemia. 2012;26(1):149-157. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21799510. Accessed February 14, 2017.

6 Rajkumar, S. Vincent et al. Progress in myeloma – a monoclonal breakthrough. N Engl J Med. 2016;375(14):1390-1392. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe1609835. Accessed February 14 2017.

7 Multiple Myeloma Treatment. Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. https://www.themmrf.org/multiple-myeloma/multiple-myeloma-treatment-options/. Accessed March 7, 2017.

8 Kurtin, SE, Bilotti, E. Novel agents for the treatment of multiple myeloma: proteasome inhibitors and immunomodulatory agents. J Adv Pract Oncol. 2013;4(5):307-321. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4093443/?report=printable. Accessed February 14, 2017.

9 Hematology/Oncology (Cancer) Approvals & Safety Notifications. U.S Food and Drug Administration. http://wayback.archive-it.org/7993/20170111064250/ http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/InformationOnDrugs/ApprovedDrugs/ucm279174.htm. Accessed May 2, 2017.

10 Monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/immunotherapy/monoclonal-antibodies.html. Updated August 8, 2016. Accessed January 25, 2017.

11 DARZALEX® [Prescribing Information]. Horsham, PA: Janssen Biotech, Inc.

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What is DARZALEX®?
DARZALEX® (daratumumab) is a prescription medicine used to treat multiple myeloma:

  • In combination with the medicines lenalidomide and dexamethasone, or bortezomib and dexamethasone, in people who have received at least one prior medicine to treat multiple myeloma
  • Alone in people who have received at least three prior medicines to treat multiple myeloma, including a proteasome inhibitor (PI) and an immunomodulatory agent, or did not respond to a proteasome inhibitor and an immunomodulatory agent
It is not known if DARZALEX® is safe and effective in children.

Talk to your healthcare provider about DARZALEX®.

Learn more about DARZALEX® »

Additional patient assistance resources »

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR DARZALEX®

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking DARZALEX®?


Before you receive DARZALEX®, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
  • Have a history of breathing problems
  • Have had shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. DARZALEX® may harm your unborn baby
    • Females who are able to become pregnant should use an effective method of birth control during treatment and for at least 3 months after your final dose of DARZALEX®. Talk to your healthcare provider about birth control methods that you can use during this time.
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if DARZALEX® passes into your breast milk.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements

How will I receive DARZALEX®?
  • DARZALEX® may be given alone or together with other medicines used to treat multiple myeloma.
  • DARZALEX® will be given to you by intravenous (IV) infusion into your vein.
  • Your healthcare provider will decide the time between doses as well as how many treatments you will receive.
  • Your healthcare provider will give you medicines before each dose of DARZALEX® and on the first day after each dose of DARZALEX® to help reduce the risk of infusion reactions.
  • If you miss any appointments, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
What are the possible side effects of DARZALEX®?

DARZALEX® may cause serious reactions including:
  • Infusion reactions: Infusion reactions are common with DARZALEX® and can be severe. Your healthcare provider may temporarily stop your infusion or completely stop treatment with DARZALEX® if you have infusion reactions. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms:
    • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
    • dizziness or lightheadedness (hypotension)
    • Cough
    • Wheezing
    • Throat tightness
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Headache
    • Itching
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Chills
    • Fever
  • Changes in blood tests. DARZALEX® can affect the results of blood tests to match your blood type. These changes can last for up to 6 months after your final dose of DARZALEX®. Your healthcare provider will do blood tests to match your blood type before you start treatment with DARZALEX®. Tell all of your healthcare providers that you are being treated with DARZALEX® before receiving blood transfusions.
  • Decreases in blood cell counts. DARZALEX® can decrease white blood cell counts which help fight infections and blood cells called platelets which help to clot blood. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop fever or have signs of bruising or bleeding.
The most common side effects of DARZALEX® include:
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Muscle spasms
  • Back pain
  • Cold-like symptoms (upper respiratory infection)
  • Nerve damage causing tingling, numbness or pain
  • Swollen hands, ankles or feet
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of DARZALEX®. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

General information about the safe and effective use of DARZALEX®

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Patient Information leaflet. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about DARZALEX® that is written for health professionals.

Click here for additional Important Safety Information »

Click here for Prescribing Information »
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