Gallium nitrate in multiple myeloma: prolonged survival in a cohort of patients with advanced-stage disease.
Multiple myeloma is characterized by bone destruction mediated by osteoclastic bone resorption. Skeletal complications of myeloma, including bone pain, fractures, spinal cord compression and hypercalcemia, result in significant morbidity. Gallium nitrate was shown in a small, randomized trial to attenuate the rate of bone loss in patients with myeloma treated with chemotherapy. In a retrospective analysis, we found that patients with advanced multiple myeloma treated with chemotherapy plus gallium nitrate had markedly prolonged median survival compared with similar patients treated with chemotherapy alone (87+ months v 48 months, respectively). These data suggest that gallium nitrate may have a positive, indirect benefit on survival in myeloma by decreasing the rate of bone resorption. Further evaluation of gallium nitrate to attenuate progression of disease in patients with multiple myeloma is warranted.