report that a three-drug treatment for the blood cancer multiple
myeloma provided rapid, deep and potentially durable responses. This
report can be found today online in Blood, the
Journal of the American Society of Hematology, and yesterday, Sunday,
June 3, 2012, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Annual
Meeting in Chicago, IL, USA.
The researchers, led by Andrzej J. Jakubowiak, M.D., Ph.D., professor of
medicine and director of the multiple myeloma program at the University
of Chicago Medical Center, found that combining carfilzomib, a next
generation proteasome inhibitor, with two standard drugs - lenalidomide
and low-dose dexamethasone compared favorably to other frontline
The longer patients stayed on the therapy, the better their response.
After at least eight 28-day cycles of treatment, 61 percent of the 36
patients who remained on the therapy had a stringent complete response,
defined as no detectable tumor cells or myeloma protein in the blood or
bone marrow; 78 percent had at least a near complete response. More
than 90 percent of patients had no progression of their disease at two
"These rapid and durable response rates are higher than those achieved
by the best established regimens for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma,"
said Jakubowiak. "We have observed excellent efficacy, the best reported
to date, and very good tolerability, including limited peripheral
neuropathy that has been problematic with other drug combinations."
The research team enrolled 53 patients in the trial at four centers.
Patients, aged 35 to 81, all had newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. Every
patient received all three drugs and the carfilzomib dose levels were
increased twice for new patients as the study progressed. Most patients
responded rapidly to the combination and continued to improve.
"Newly diagnosed patients with myeloma are most sensitive to treatment,"
Jakubowiak said. "A rapid and sustained response to the initial phase
of treatment, as in the case of this study, can typically project longer
remission, and, possibly, longer overall survival."