The usefulness of pharmacokinetics of bortezomib for multiple myeloma (MM) with respect to the maximum response to bortezomib and bortezomib-induced peripheral neuropathy (BIPN) development was studied. Maximum response to subcutaneous bortezomib therapy and BIPN occurrence for the first 12 weeks of treatment in 35 MM patients treated by bortezomib–dexamethasone (VD) and bortezomib–melphalan–prednisone (VMP) were evaluated. On day 1 of cycle 1, seven whole-blood samples were collected for 3 h after dosing completion to obtain the maximum plasma concentration and area under the time–concentration curve during 3 h postdose (AUC0–3) in each patient. A total of 35 patients with complete data were analyzed and the overall response rate was 91.4%. Complete response (CR) was observed in 42.9% patients. The maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) was significant for the CR rate in two different models [full model: odds ratio (OR)=1.092; P=0.038, final model: OR=1.081; P=0.038]. In addition, Cmax was associated with a progression-free survival advantage. Overall, 48.6% of patients developed BIPN including peripheral sensory neuropathy and neuralgia. The VMP-treated patients had a higher risk compared with the VD-treated patients (OR=21.662; P=0.029). Cmax had a tendency to affect the occurrence of BIPN (≥grade 2) (OR=1.064; P=0.092). In real-world clinical practice using bortezomib for MM patients, Cmax among pharmacokinetic factors significantly affected the achievement of CR. The VMP-treated patients showed vulnerability to BIPN, suggesting the necessity for more careful monitoring.