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ASH: Novel Drug Beneficial in Multiple Myeloma

Second-generation proteasome inhibitor linked to response rate of 45 percent, few side effects

TUESDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with relapsed or resistant multiple myeloma who have received up to three prior therapies excluding the first-generation proteasome inhibitor bortezomib, treatment with the second-generation proteasome inhibitor carfilzomib is associated a high response rate and a low incidence of side effects, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 5 to 8 in New Orleans.

Michael Wang, M.D., of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues presented results of a phase II clinical trial involving 57 patients, 56 of whom have received at least one dose of carfilzomib. After previous therapies including alkylators, stem cell transplant, thalidomide, lenalidimide, and anthracyclines, many patients developed side effects including neuropathy (37 percent) and impaired renal function (21 percent).

Of the 51 patients with evaluable results, the researchers found that one achieved a complete response, 18 achieved a partial response, nine achieved a minor response, and 10 achieved disease stabilization at six weeks. They also found that most side effects associated with carfilzomib were minor, that the incidence of neuropathy decreased to 12 percent, and that none of the patients with impaired renal function at baseline required dose modifications due to renal side effects.

"Carfilzomib can be safely administered to patients with significant comorbidities (e.g., peripheral neuropathy, leukopenia, renal dysfunction, diabetes) when other anti-myeloma agents may not be well tolerated," the authors conclude.

This study was supported by Proteolix, the developer of carfilzomib; several authors reported financial relationships with the company.

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