Velcade (bortezomib) is a treatment for multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) that develops from mature B-cells that come from a region of the lymph nodes called the “mantle zone.” It is developed by Takeda Oncology.

How Velcade works

Velcade works by interfering with the growth of some cancer cells and limiting their spread in the body. It does this by acting as a proteasome inhibitor. Proteasomes exist in cells and they help break down proteins the cell no longer needs. By inhibiting the proteasomes Velcade causes proteins to accumulate inside cancer cells, leading to their death.

In addition to cell death, Velcade also has shown results in enhancing the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy and corticoids by blocking the effects of the physical response to cellular stress.

Velcade in clinical trials

An open-label Phase 2 study (NCT00063713) in people with progressive MCL who had received at least one treatment was the basis for Velcade’s approval for the treatment of MCL. The overall response rate to treatment was 31 percent and the median response duration was 9.3 months. The median number of cycles in responding participants was eight.

A phase 3 study, LYM-3002 (NCT00722137) compared the effectiveness and safety of the combination of VR-CAP (bortezomib, rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone) to that of R-CHOP (vincristine, rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone) in people with newly diagnosed grade 2, 3, or 4 MCL and who could not undergo bone marrow transplantation. A significant prolongation of progression-free survival and improvements in secondary effectiveness objectives were observed with VR-CAP compared to R-CHOP.

Other details

Velcade is injected into a vein in a clinic or hospital setting. It may lower the number of blood cells that help the body fight infections and form clots.

Velcade also may cause a serious viral infection of the brain that can lead to disability or death. Symptoms such as changes in mental state, decreased vision, or problems with speech or walking, which start gradually and worsen quickly, may be a sign of this infection.

More common side effects of Velcade include numbness, tingling, or burning pain in the hands or feet, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, fever, chills, cold or flu symptoms, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, rash, and tiredness.


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