Background: Carfilzomib is a second-generation irreversible proteasome inhibitor that is efficacious in the treatment of myeloma and carries less risk of peripheral neuropathy than first-generation proteasome inhibitors, making it more amenable to combination therapy.
Methods and findings: The Myeloma XI+ trial recruited patients from 88 sites across the UK between 5 December 2013 and 20 April 2016. Patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma eligible for transplantation were randomly assigned to receive the combination carfilzomib, lenalidomide, dexamethasone, and cyclophosphamide (KRdc) or a triplet of lenalidomide, dexamethasone, and cyclophosphamide (Rdc) or thalidomide, dexamethasone, and cyclophosphamide (Tdc). All patients were planned to receive an autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) prior to a randomisation between lenalidomide maintenance and observation. Eligible patients were aged over 18 years and had symptomatic myeloma. The co-primary endpoints for the study were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) for KRdc versus the Tdc/Rdc control group by intention to treat. PFS, response, and safety outcomes are reported following a planned interim analysis. The trial is registered (ISRCTN49407852) and has completed recruitment. In total, 1,056 patients (median age 61 years, range 33 to 75, 39.1% female) underwent induction randomisation to KRdc (n = 526) or control (Tdc/Rdc, n = 530). After a median follow-up of 34.5 months, KRdc was associated with a significantly longer PFS than the triplet control group (hazard ratio 0.63, 95% CI 0.51-0.76). The median PFS for patients receiving KRdc is not yet estimable, versus 36.2 months for the triplet control group (p < 0.001). Improved PFS was consistent across subgroups of patients including those with genetically high-risk disease. At the end of induction, the percentage of patients achieving at least a very good partial response was 82.3% in the KRdc group versus 58.9% in the control group (odds ratio 4.35, 95% CI 3.19-5.94, p < 0.001). Minimal residual disease negativity (cutoff 4 × 10-5 bone marrow leucocytes) was achieved in 55% of patients tested in the KRdc group at the end of induction, increasing to 75% of those tested after ASCT. The most common adverse events were haematological, with a low incidence of cardiac events. The trial continues to follow up patients to the co-primary endpoint of OS and for planned long-term follow-up analysis. Limitations of the study include a lack of blinding to treatment regimen and that the triplet control regimen did not include a proteasome inhibitor for all patients, which would be considered a current standard of care in many parts of the world.
Conclusions: The KRdc combination was well tolerated and was associated with both an increased percentage of patients achieving at least a very good partial response and a significant PFS benefit compared to immunomodulatory-agent-based triplet therapy.