Velcade is the brand name of an anti-cancer drug called bortezomib. It is a type of targeted cancer treatment, meaning that instead of indiscriminately killing cells the way that chemotherapy does, Velcade is designed to seek out cancer cells in the body and kill them.

Velcade is administered through intravenous injection and was originally approved by the US FDA in 2003.

What is Velcade used to treat?

Velcade is currently approved by the US FDA to treat patients with multiple myeloma. Velcade has also been approved as a second-line therapy in patients with mantle cell lymphoma, meaning patients who have received another line of treatment and failed it..

There are currently several ongoing clinical trials to determine Velcade's efficacy in cancers other than those listed above, such as cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia, as well as in other settings, such as combination chemotherapy.

How does Velcade work?

Velcade is a proteasome inhibitor. What this means is that Velcade inhibits—or blocks—the function of a set of proteins inside the cell, specifically a protein group known as the 26S proteasome. When their function is blocked, the cellular cycle that is required for a cell to divide and multiply is arrested, causing the cell to die.

What are some of the most common Velcade side effects?

The most commonly reported side effects from the use of Velcade include peripheral neuropathy, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, moderate fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Each drug will affect each patient differently, and anyone receiving Velcade is urged to report any and all Velcade side effects to their oncology team immediately.

It has been reported that green tea—and any preparations made from green tea—have a substantial negative effect on the efficacy of Velcade, to the point that green tea may fully inhibit Velcade from working.


BC Cancer Agency Drug Index, Bortezomib

MedlinePlus Drug Information, Bortezomib

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