A three-drug combo including Amgen’s Kyprolis has proved to be more effective than standard two-drug therapy in relapsed multiple myeloma.

More data has been presented from the Phase III ASPIRE trial at the American Society of Hematology meeting in San Francisco in patients who received Kyprolis (carfilzomib), Celgene's Revlimid (lenalidomide) and dexamethasone (KRd) or a combination of the latter two drugs (Rd). In terms of progression-free survival, the median duration of response was 28.6 months compared to 21.2 months, figures described by Keith Stewart of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and principal investigator as “unprecedented”.

Speaking at an ASH press briefing, Dr Stewart noted that while overall survival data are not yet mature, the analysis showed a trend in favour of KRd. The overall response rate for the triplet was 87.1% and 66.7% for Rd, while 31.8% achieved complete response versus 9.3%.

Dr Stewart was particularly pleased with the safety profile of KRd and Rd were pretty much the same, despite adding a third drug and he believes the data “puts to rest some of the concerns that are anecdotal” regarding the toxicity of Kyprolis, which Amgen got hold of through its $10.4 billion acquisition of Onyx Pharmaceuticals. He also mentioned that patients in the KRd group reported superior health-related quality of life.

Dr Stewart went on to say that the ASPIRE data suggests KRd should be seen as “the standard of care as of today”. However Kyprolis has not even been filed yet in Europe and only got accelerated approval in July 2012 from the US Food and Drug Administration.