Background: State of the art treatment for patients with NDMM involves induction with triplet-based regimens utilizing combinations of immunomodulatory drugs and proteasome inhibitors (PI) which improve time to progression (TTP), progression-free survival, and overall survival (OS) over doublet regimens. Carfilzomib is a selective PI with FDA approval in the KRd combination regimen for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory MM. Carfilzomib-based combinations are associated with increased clinical benefit over bortezomib-based combinations and carfilzomib does not cause neuropathy. This phase 2 study of 45 patients demonstrated that deep responses with KRd-r is achieved in the NDMM setting (Korde et al. JAMA Onc 2015). Here, we expand on our initial results in assessing response to present the long-term durability of minimal residual disease negativity (MRDneg) complete response (CR) and time to progression. We also characterize TTP by depth of response, age, and cytogenetic risk profile.

Methods:Treatment-naïve patients with MM were treated for 8 cycles (28-day cycles) with carfilzomib 20/36 mg/m2 IV days 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16; lenalidomide 25 mg PO days 1-21, and dexamethasone 20/10 mg IV/PO days 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23. Transplant eligible patients underwent stem cell collection after ≥4 cycles and then continued KRd treatment (i.e. without default autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT)). After 8 cycles of KRd, patients received 2 years of lenalidomide 10 mg PO maintenance on days 1-21. The primary objective of the study was to estimate the rate of ≥ Grade 3 peripheral neuropathy with secondary objectives of International Myeloma Working Group criteria for overall response rate (ORR), MRDneg CR, TTP, and response duration (DoR) assessed after every cycle during induction and subsequently after every 90 days of maintenance therapy. Assessment of MRDneg CR by multi-color flow cytometry (bone marrow aspirate; 10-5 sensitivity) was performed after 8 cycles of induction, 1 and 2 years of lenalidomide maintenance, and then annually.

Results: Forty-five patients meeting eligibility criteria were enrolled (60% male; 42% ≥ age 65, range 40-89; race: 82% White, 13% Black, 4% Asian; isotypes: 51% IgG kappa, 16% IgG lambda, 13% IgA kappa, 9% IgA lambda, 9% free kappa, and 4% free lambda; 33% high risk cytogenetics, del(17p), t(4;14), t(14;16)or t(14;20)). The median potential follow up was 5.7 years (68.3 months). The ORR was 97.8% (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 88.2-99.9%) with a median DoR of 65.7 months (95% CI: 55.6-not reached (NR) months). Strikingly, 28 of the 45 patients, 62.2%, (95% CI: 46.5-76.2%) attained deep responses of MRDneg CR; durability of MRDneg CR was observed up to at least 70 months with a median duration of over 4 years (52.4 months; 95% CI: 35.3-61.6 months). Moreover, the median TTP was over five and a half years (67.3 months; 95% CI: 51.0-NR months) and the median OS was NR, however, at 80 months, 84.3% of patients were still alive. As expected, patients who attained MRDneg CR, by cycle 8, had a 78% reduction in the risk of progression (Hazard Ratio (HR): 0.22 (95% CI: 0.07-0.69); p=0.005) (Figure 1). Importantly, these deep responses of MRDneg CR and long progression free durations were observed regardless of age group or cytogenetic-based risk profile (Table 1). Toxicities have been previously reported and were generally manageable with no Grade ≥ 3 neuropathy or death due to toxicity.

Conclusions: Upfront treatment of NDMM with the modern and highly efficacious KRd-r regimen incorporating a "by-default-delayed" ASCT strategy led to high rates of MRDneg CR (10-5 sensitivity) which even more importantly were sustained with a median duration of over 4 years. Moreover, attaining MRDneg CR, was strongly associated with a delay in progression. Clinically important, we observed that these deep responses and long progression-free durations are observed regardless of age or cytogenetic risk and stress the importance of utilizing highly efficacious triplet-based regimens for these sub-categories of NDMM. Lastly, our results with KRd-r in NDMM compare favorably to ASCT-based regimens and question the use of upfront ASCT for all patients. Our observed median TTP of 67 months is approximately 17 months longer than published data using the regimen of bortezomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone with ASCT (Attal et al. NEJM 2017). Updated results will be presented at the Annual Meeting.


Korde:Amgen: Research Funding. Mailankody:Janssen: Research Funding; Juno: Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding; Physician Education Resource: Honoraria. Landgren:Janssen: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Celgene: Consultancy, Research Funding; Amgen: Consultancy, Research Funding; Merck: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Karyopharm: Consultancy; Pfizer: Consultancy; Takeda: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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