Introduction

Elotuzumab (trade name: Empliciti) has been approved in Germany since May 2016 for the treatment of multiple myeloma. The drug is an option for adult patients who have already had treatment at least once. It is combined with the drugs lenalidomide and dexamethasone.

Multiple myeloma is a rare type of cancer in which mutated plasma cells multiply uncontrollably in the bone marrow. If the disease progresses, the bone is destroyed and normal blood formation becomes impossible. This can cause bone pain and bone fractures as well as anemia. In addition, multiple myeloma weakens the immune system, making it a life-threatening disease.

The new drug aims to stimulate the immune system to attack the tumor cells.

Application

Elotuzumab is given as an infusion in combination with dexamethasone and lenalidomide in 28-day cycles. During the first two cycles, patients receive one infusion per week. After that the drug is given every two weeks.

Other treatments

The standard treatment option for people with multiple myeloma is the drug bortezomib. It can be combined with doxorubicin or dexamethasone. Lenalidomide combined with dexamethasone may also be an option.

Assessment

In 2016, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) wanted to find out whether elotuzumab has any advantages or disadvantages for people with multiple myeloma when compared with the current standard treatments.

However, the manufacturer did not provide any suitable data with which to do the assessment.

More information

This information summarizes the main results of a review produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The review was commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) as part of the “early benefit assessment of medications.” On the basis of the reviews and the hearings received, the G-BA passed a resolution on the added benefit of elotuzumab (Empliciti).

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