(HealthDay News) — The addition of carfilzomib to lenalidomide and dexamethasone improves progression-free survival in patients with relapsed multiple myeloma, according to a study published online Dec. 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings were released to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 6 to 9 in San Francisco.

A. Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and colleagues randomized 792 patients with relapsed multiple myeloma to carfilzomib with lenalidomide and dexamethasone (carfilzomib group) or lenalidomide and dexamethasone alone (control group).

The researchers found that progression-free survival was significantly improved for the carfilzomib group versus the control group (median, 26.3 versus 17.6 months; hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.69: P = 0.0001). At the interim analysis, the median overall survival was not reached in either group. The 24-month overall survival rates were 73.3 percent in the carfilzomib group and 65.0 percent in the control group (hazard ratio for death, 0.79; P = 0.04). The rates of overall response (partial or better) were 87.1 percent in the carfilzomib group and 66.7 percent in the control group (P < 0.001). Grade 3 or higher adverse events were reported in 83.7 percent of the carfilzomib group and in 80.7 percent of the control group.

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“The addition of carfilzomib to lenalidomide and dexamethasone resulted in significantly improved progression-free survival at the interim analysis and had a favorable risk-benefit profile,” the authors write.

The study was supported by Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures carfilzomib and funded the scientific review of the manuscript; medical writing assistance was provided by BlueMomentum.

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