Frailty impairs the feasibility of induction therapy but not of maintenance therapy in elderly myeloma patients: final results of the German Maintenance Study (GERMAIN).
Purpose: The German Maintenance Study (GERMAIN) was designed to evaluate the impact of lenalidomide maintenance after induction therapy with bortezomib, melphalan and prednisolone (VMP) in transplant-ineligible newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) patients.
Methods: Due to poor accrual and high dropout rate, only 85 patients (planned 286) entered the trial and 40 (planned 200) were randomized to lenalidomide maintenance (n = 19) vs. observation (n = 21).
Results: The primary endpoint, improved progression-free survival, was not met (p = 0.3572). After a median follow-up of 12.9 months, median progression-free survival in the lenalidomide arm was 14.4 months and 11.4 months with placebo. The hazard ratio 0.621 (95% confidence interval: [0.224, 1.725]) was about the same as expected (0.625). However, with only 40 patients randomized, the actual power to detect a difference was 11%. Of patients receiving at least one dose of induction, 54% were frail according to a modified International Myeloma Working Group frailty score. Discontinuations were high during induction (47%), and affected mainly frail patients (54%). Despite a higher rate of adverse events in the lenalidomide arm (p = 0.0061), only 2 patients discontinued lenalidomide due to toxicity.
Conclusion: A frailty assessment with appropriate dose modification for induction therapy should be mandatory for all elderly non-transplant-eligible myeloma patients.