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Targeted Therapies for Multiple Myeloma Tutorial

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Summary and Conclusions

In This Section:

Finding the Right Combinations

Because multiple signaling pathways are often disrupted in cancer cells, many clinical trials are testing combinations of targeted therapies. It is hoped that targeting multiple pathways might reduce the development of drug-resistant tumor cells.

For example, HSP90 inhibitors are being tested in combination with the proteasome inhibitor Velcade® (bortezomib) in clinical trials of myeloma. Preclinical studies have shown that myeloma cells treated with Velcade® produce more HSP90 to help protect themselves from the stress caused by the accumulation of undegraded proteins. Inhibiting HSP90 caused the cells to be more sensitive to the apoptotic effects of Velcade®.

This is a split-screen image. A mass of green cancer cells is shown on the left. Some of the cancer cells are undergoing apoptosis. The right side of the screen is a magnified view of the cytoplasm of one of the cancer cells. A proteasome bound to Velcade is shown in the cytoplasm. There are also several HSP90 dimers present in the cytoplasm.

Combination approaches that include one or more targeted therapies are almost certainly the future of cancer treatment. The possibilities are exciting, but clinical trials are needed to establish optimal dosages and schedules for combination therapies.

Two researchers in white laboratory coats are shown. The screen text reads, 'Clinical trials are needed to develop effective combination therapies for cancer.'

Accessing Targeted Therapies for Multiple Myeloma

One targeted therapy for treatment of multiple myeloma--Velcade®--has already been approved by the FDA. Click on the Additional Information link at the bottom of the screen to read about the approved uses of Velcade®.

A square icon labeled 'Targeted Therapies' is shown on the left side of the screen. The icon includes symbols for antibodies, vaccines, and small molecules. The word Velcade is shown on the right of the screen. A stamped overlay on the screen reads, 'FDA approved.'

Several other targeted therapies are being developed for use against multiple myeloma. Doctors should consider whether a clinical trial of innovative targeted therapies might be a good option for their patients.

More Information


Bortezomib (Velcade®)

  • Mechanism: proteasome inhibitor
  • Indications: treatment of patients with multiple myeloma and some patients with mantle cell lymphoma

Finding Clinical Trials

Targeted therapies for multiple myeloma are in all phases of clinical study.

There are a number of ways to find clinical trials. The National Cancer Institute's Web information about clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, pharmaceutical companies, medical centers, and other groups from around the world. For information on cancer clinical trials being conducted at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, visit Information about clinical trials can also be found on the Web site, which is operated and maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Cancer patients and their families may also contact NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS) if they have questions about cancer and clinical trials. The CIS can be reached by calling 1-800-4-CANCER. Or, patients can use the Live Chat feature on the Web site.