Three-Drug Treatment For Multiple Myeloma Improve Survival

Benefit Seen In Test Of Three-Drug Treatment For Multiple Myeloma
Plasma cells in multiple myeloma. (Image source)
In the treatment of multiple myeloma, the addition of carfilzomib to a currently accepted two-drug combination produced significantly better results than using the two drugs alone, according a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
 
Researchers found that adding carfilzomib to standard treatment (lenalidomide and dexamethasone) resulted in 8.7 months of longer remission, almost 50 percent longer than the standard two-drug combination (26.3 months versus 17.6 months).
 
The number of patients who responded to treatment was also significantly improved by adding carfilzomib to standard treatment - 87.4 percent versus 66.9 percent - and more than three times more patients had no detectable disease after the three-drug treatment (31.8 percent versus 9.3 percent). Although results were preliminary, there was also a trend toward improved overall survival.
 
These findings highlight increasing success in treating myeloma, the second most common blood cancer. Survival of multiple myeloma has almost doubled over the last decade, and the very positive outcomes from use of the three-drug combination will likely further improve outcomes.
 
Lenalidomide, a potent derivative of thalidomide, affects immune system function. Dexamethasone is a steroid drug. Carfilzomib is a proteasome inhibitor approved for use in 2012 by the U.S. FDA for patients with advanced, end-stage multiple myeloma. The drug specifically targets regulation of the proteins that fuel growth of multiple myeloma. Now the researchers hope the results of this trial will lead to approval of this treatment combination.