According to results published in the Dec. 6 New England Journal of Medicine, relapsed multiple myeloma patients who were treated with carfilzomib, in addition to lenalidomide and dexamethasone, had improved progression-free survival. Lenalidomide in combination with high-dose dexamethasone is approved for use in relapsed multiple myeloma on the basis of phase 3 trials showing superiority to dexamethasone alone, with a median progression-free survival of 11.1 months and an overall response rate of 60%. In previously untreated patients, lower weekly doses of dexamethasone proved less toxic and more effective than high-dose dexamethasone. Indeed, in a recent phase 3 study, lenalidomide with weekly dexamethasone, administered until disease progression, was associated with significantly improved progression-free survival in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. The combination of lenalidomide and weekly dexamethasone is therefore considered a reference regimen for both newly diagnosed and relapsed multiple myeloma.
With this latest study, researchers found that progression-free survival was significantly improved for the carfilzomib group versus the control group (median, 26.3 versus 17.6 months). At the interim analysis, the median overall survival was not reached in either group. The 24-month overall survival rates were 73.3% in the carfilzomib group and 65.0% in the control group. The rates of overall response (partial or better) were 87.1% in the carfilzomib group and 66.7% in the control group. Grade 3 or higher adverse events were reported in 83.7% of the carfilzomib group and in 80.7% of the control group.
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about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.