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Drug Combination Highly Effective for Newly Diagnosed Myeloma Patients, Study Finds
Date:12/12/2011

o the combination and continued to improve with additional treatment cycles.

After at least one 28-day cycle, 94 percent had a partial response — at least a 50 percent reduction of the disease. After at least four cycles, all patients had a partial response. After 12 cycles or more, 100 percent of patients had a "very-good partial response," defined as a 90 percent reduction of disease, and four out of five patients showed little or no sign of cancer.

"These response rates are higher than those achieved by the best established regimens for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma," Jakubowiak said.

After a median follow-up of nine and a half months, all patients were alive and only one patient had progression of their cancer. The three-drug combination was overall well-tolerated, with few serious side effects. The side effect that typically limits extended treatment for multiple myeloma — peripheral neuropathy, numbness or tingling of the fingers and toes that can progress to significant pain — was infrequent and mild.

The study included patients who were eligible for a bone marrow transplant using their own stem cells, but offered a deferred transplant approach and only two patients chose that option. Most patients remained on the three-drug treatment and achieved responses similar to or better than those observed after a stem cell transplant. They are still eligible for a stem cell transplant if the disease becomes resistant to the drug combination.

"Newly diagnosed myeloma is most sensitive to treatment," Jakubowiak said. "A great and sustained response in the initial phase of treatment, as is the case in this study, typically projects longer remission, and possibly longer overall survival."

Carfilzomib has recently emerged as an important experimental medicine in the treatment of multiple myeloma. It is a proteasome inhibitor, a drug that interferes with the mechanism that cells use to get rid of unneeded or
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SOURCE University of Chicago Medical Center
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