A four-drug combination therapy has shown significant benefit for patients with newly diagnosed myeloma, according to a new analysis led by researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research, London (ICR).

The combination therapy includes the novel drug carfilzomib administered alongside lenalidomide, dexamethasone and cyclophosphamide.

Carfilzomib is a type of drug included in the class known as proteasome inhibitors, which has been sown to be effective against relapsed myeloma when combined with lenalidomide.

The combination trial involved 1,056 patients with newly diagnosed myeloma, who were randomly assigned to receive either the four-drug combination therapy (KRdc) or a control triplet option.

After three years, 66% of patients who received the KRdc therapy remained alive and progression free compared to 50% in the control group.

On top of that, 82% of patients in the KRdc group achieved a very good partial response compared to 59% in the control group.

“The results of this major, long-running clinical trial in patients with myeloma have established the benefit of carfilzomib in a quadruplet combination with lenalidomide, including in patients with newly diagnosed disease,” said Charlotte Pawlyn, team leader in myeloma biology and therapeutics at the ICR and consultant in haematology at The Royal Marsden.

“We hope that these results now lead to the drug being approved for wider use on the NHS, as it is currently only available to UK patients in limited settings,” she added.

The clinical trial was led by a team of myeloma investigators from 100 sites across the UK, including researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Newcastle.

The study was largely funded by Cancer Research UK, with additional funding from Amgen, which manufactures carfilzomib under the brand name Kyprolis, Celgene and MSD.