June 4, 2011

MMRF Newsflash from ASCO


The MMRF team is on-site at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago and is pleased to share with you highlights from key sessions over the next 3 days. Today, the first data related to multiple myeloma was presented in a series of poster presentations focusing on new data for carfilzomib, a next-generation proteasome inhibitor that is being developed through a partnership with the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC); stem cell transplantation; and advances in personalized medicine.

Posters describing four studies of carfilzomib were presented today. In a phase II study, interim data were presented for 51 of 52 patients with relapsed and/or refractory MM treated with carfilzomib, Revlimid, and dexamethasone; 78% of patients responded and 48% achieved a very good partial response or better. The most common serious side effect was neutropenia, seen in 23% of patients. Peripheral neuropathy (PN) was not reported for this study; however, a poster by David Siegel describing long-term follow-up of an earlier study of a similar patient population treated with carfilzomib alone demonstrated a very low incidence of new or worsening PN. Notably, only 3 of 266 patients experienced severe PN, and no patient discontinued due to PN. Responses were promising and durable in the study, consistent with other studies of carfilzomib, regardless of patient risk factors. Several additional studies showed similar, promising results. A phase III study of Revlimid and dexamethasone ± carfilzomib is underway and will be described during ASCO’s Trials in Progress poster session on Monday.

A poster presented by Mario Boccadoro from Italy described a phase III study of melphalan/prednisone/Revlimid (lenalidomide) (MPR) versus high-dose melphalan and autologous transplantation (MEL200) in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, all of whom initially received induction therapy with Revlimid and dexamethasone. Progression-free survival was significantly higher for the patients receiving MEL200; however, these patients also experienced significantly more serious side effects including neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, infections, and gastrointestinal events.

An interesting poster by Erica Campagnero and colleagues described an analysis of survival outcomes for elderly MM patients treated in 4 phase III trials conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), representing 30 years of myeloma treatment, in order to examine survival outcomes for elderly MM patients. Similar analyses in the past have suggested that the survival improvements seen in MM have largely been limited to patients younger than 65 years; this analysis did see improved survival for patients over age 65, but the gains lagged behind younger patients. The authors emphasized the importance of understanding specific contributions to this difference.

Finally, a poster by Rafael Fonseca described a novel, automated tool for gene expression profiling, which allows for simultaneous analysis of multiple risk stratifications measures—an example of the ongoing research towards personalizing treatment for patients, based on biological factors that contribute to disease prognosis.

The MMRF symposium for physicians will be held later this evening, where a packed room of myeloma clinicians from around the world will hear from Chair Ken Anderson, as well as Herve Avet-L’oiseau, Sergio Giralt, Sundar Jagannath, David Roodman, and Jesus San Miguel.

Stay tuned for continued updates over the next couple of days as more data are presented!