The phase III trial GEM05MENOS65 randomized 390 patients 65 years old or younger with newly diagnosed symptomatic multiple myeloma (MM) to receive induction with thalidomide/dexamethasone, bortezomib/thalidomide/dexamethasone and Vincristine, BCNU, melphalan, cyclophosphamide, prednisone/vincristine, BCNU, doxorubicin, dexamethasone bortezomib (VBMCP/VBAD/B) followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) with MEL-200. After ASCT, a second randomization was performed to compare thalidomide/bortezomib (TV), thalidomide (T) and alfa-2b interferon (alfa2-IFN). Maintenance treatment consisted of TV (thalidomide 100 mg daily plus one cycle of intravenous bortezomib at 1.3 mg/m2 on days 1, 4, 8 and 11 every 3 months) versus T (100 mg daily) versus alfa2-IFN (3 MU three times per week) for up to 3 years. A total of 271 patients were randomized (TV: 91; T: 88; alfa2-IFN: 92). The complete response (CR) rate with maintenance was improved by 21% with TV, 11% with T and 17% with alfa2-IFN (P, not significant). After a median follow-up of 58.6 months, the progression-free survival (PFS) was significantly longer with TV compared with T and alfa2-IFN (50.6 vs 40.3 vs 32.5 months, P = 0.03). Overall survival was not significantly different among the three arms. Grade 2-3 peripheral neuropathy was observed in 48.8%, 34.4% and 1% of patients treated with TV, T and alfa2-IFN, respectively. In conclusion, bortezomib and thalidomide maintenance resulted in a significantly longer PFS when compared with thalidomide or alfa2-IFN. (no. EUDRA 2005-001110-41).