The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK has recommended US-based biopharmaceutical company Amgen's Kyprolis (Carfilzomib) in combination with dexamethasone as an option for treating adults with relapsed multiple myeloma (RMM).

The combination can be used to treat the RMM patients who have received one prior treatment that does not include bortezomib.

During the Health Technology Assessment, NICE, along with Myeloma UK patients and healthcare professionals, identified carfilzomib as a much-required treatment option after relapse and a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

Myeloma UK policy and public affairs manager Kate Morgan said: “The decision means that myeloma patients who have not previously received bortezomib will have the option of accessing a new and effective proteasome inhibitor at first relapse.

“As carfilzomib and dexamethasone has been shown to be effective in prolonging survival in relapsed myeloma patients, with limited negative impact on quality of life, it is very important for patients to have access to it on the NHS.”

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The recommended use of carfilzomib in combination with dexamethasone in the treatment of adults with RMM was based on a Phase III randomised study known as Endeavor.

Endeavor is the first head-to-head clinical trial that compared two proteasome inhibitors.

"The decision means that myeloma patients who have not previously received bortezomib will have the option of accessing a new and effective proteasome inhibitor at first relapse."

The trial showed that adults treated with carfilzomib in combination with dexamethasone lived almost twice as long without their cancer progressing compared to adults who received bortezomib and dexamethasone, which is the current standard of care.

Additionally, in a planned interim analysis of overall survival (OS), carfilzomib and dexamethasone revealed a reduced risk of death by 21% compared to bortezomib and dexamethasone.

As well as Endeavor, data from the Phase III randomised study Aspire was also evaluated, which highlighted that carfilzomib with lenalidomide and dexamethasone was effective in prolonging progression-free survival, compared with lenalidomide and dexamethasone in patients with RMM.

Carfilzomib is available with immediate effect via interim funding arrangements in England and Wales.

Image: Micrograph of a multiple myeloma. Photo: courtesy of Nephron / Wikipedia.