Once Weekly Carfilzomib Superior in Relapsed/Refractory Myeloma


Carfilzomib (Kyprolis) administered once weekly at 70 mg/m2 with dexamethasone resulted in a prolonged PFS compared with the standard twice-weekly schedule in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.

Maria-Victoria Mateos, MD, PhD

Carfilzomib (Kyprolis) administered once weekly at 70 mg/m2 with dexamethasone resulted in a prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) compared with the standard twice-weekly schedule in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, according to results from the phase III ARROW study.

Findings presented at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting and published simultaneously in The Lancet Oncology showed a median PFS of 11.2 months (95% CI, 8.6-13.0) with once weekly carfilzomib and dexamethasone compared with 7.6 months (95% CI, 5.8-9.2) for the standard twice-weekly schedule of carfilzomib at 27 mg/m2 with dexamethasone (HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.54-0.83; P = .0029).1,2 These data met the primary endpoint of PFS.

Overall response rate (ORR) in patients in the once-weekly arm was 62.9% (95% CI, 56.5-69.0) versus 40.8% (95% CI, 35.5-47.3) in the twice-weekly arm (P <.0001). Additionally, 7% of patients in the once-weekly arm achieved a complete response (CR) or better. This is compared with 2% of patients who achieved a CR in the twice-weekly arm. ORR was a secondary endpoint, in addition to overall survival, and safety and tolerability.

“The ARROW trial showed that when given once per week at the higher dose of 70 mg/m2 with dexamethasone, [carfilzomib] achieved superior PFS and ORR, with a comparable safety profile, versus the twice-weekly regimen,” said co-lead author Maria-Victoria Mateos, MD, PhD, director of the myeloma unit, University Hospital of Salamanca-IBSAL in Salamanca, Spain, in a press release.

Relapsed/refractory myeloma is a difficult-to-treat population, as progression often occurs. With ARROW, investigators aimed to prove PFS would not be compromised with an altered dosing schedule.

The phase III study enrolled 478 patients who had received 2 or 3 prior lines of therapy, including a proteasome inhibitor and an immunomodulatory agent. Patients were randomized to either the once-weekly (n = 238) or twice-weekly schedule (n = 235), and were stratified by the International Stage System.

The maximum tolerated dose of carfilzomib at 70 mg/m2 when given in combination with dexamethasone was established in the phase I/II CHAMPION-1 study, which was the first study to explore the once-weekly schedule.2

“Through our patient-centric approach, we strive to improve outcomes and experience for patients with multiple myeloma,” said David M. Reese, MD, senior vice president of Translational Sciences and Oncology at Amgen, in a press release.

Investigators reported that the once-weekly regimen, in addition to having a superior PFS, was more convenient for patients. Patients in the once-weekly group received carfilzomib intravenously for 30 minutes (20 mg/m2 on day 1 of cycle 1; 70 mg/m2 on days 8 and 15 of cycle 1; and 70 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, and 15 of subsequent cycles), while patients in the twice-weekly group received it intravenously for 10 minutes (20 mg/m2 on days 1 and 2 of cycle 1; 27 mg/m2 on days 8, 9, 15, and 16 of cycle 1; and 27 mg/m2 on days 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16 of subsequent cycles). Patients received 40 mg of dexamethasone on days 1, 8, and 15 of all days and also on day 22 during cycles 1-9 in both arms.

Safety was comparable in each arm, and there were no new standard safety risks in the once-weekly arm, noted investigators. Common adverse events (AEs) were anemia, pneumonia, diarrhea, and thrombocytopenia. Even though patients in the once-weekly group experienced a higher rate of grade ≥3 AEs (68%) than the twice-weekly group (62%), they had less grade ≥3 cardiac AEs (3% vs 4%, respectively).

There were 5 treatment-related deaths in the once-weekly group, and 2 in the twice-weekly group. Deaths in the once-weekly group were attributed to sepsis, acute lung injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and tumor lysis syndrome. In the twice-weekly group, deaths were attributed to plasma cell myeloma and congestive heart failure.

The initial approval of carfilzomib in combination with lenalidomide (Revlimid) for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma following 1 to 3 lines of therapy was expanded in January 2016 for use in combination with dexamethasone or with lenalidomide plus dexamethasone.

This is the first head-to-head randomized phase III trial comparing 2 different dosing schedules of carfilzomib in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, according to a statement by Amgen.

“Results from ARROW show patients can benefit from receiving carfilzomib with a once-weekly dosing schedule. We have engaged with regulatory agencies and look forward to filing as soon as possible to potentially expand our label to include this option for patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma,” said Reese.


  1. Mateos MV, Moreau P, Berenson JR, et al. Once-weekly vs twice-weekly carfilzomib (K) dosing plus dexamethasone (d) in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM): Results of the randomized phase 3 study A.R.R.O.W. J Clin Oncol. 2018;36(suppl; abstr 8000).
  2. Moreau P, Mateos MV, Berenson JR, et al. Once weekly versus twice weekly carfilzomib dosing in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (A.R.R.O.W.): interim analysis results of a randomized, phase 3 study. [Published online June 1, 2018] Lancet. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30354-1.
  3. Berenson JR, Cartmell A, Bussudo A, et al. CHAMPION-1: a phase 1/2 study of weekly carfilzomib and dexamethasone for relapsed or relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. Blood. 2016;127(26):3360-3368.

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