In this open-label, intra-patient phase I/II trial, bortezomib was replaced with carfilzomib (escalated from 20 to 45 mg/m2 on days 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 of a 28-day cycle) for multiple myeloma (MM) patients who progressed while on or within 12 weeks of receiving a bortezomib-containing combination regimen. Study objectives included determination of the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), overall response rate (ORR), clinical benefit rate (CBR), time to progression, time to response, duration of response, progression-free survival and overall survival (OS). Of 38 registered patients, 37 were treated and evaluable for efficacy and safety. Thirty-one carfilzomib-based regimens using 14 different drug combinations were tested. One regimen (carfilzomib (45 mg/m2), ascorbic acid (1000 mg) and cyclophosphamide (2.2 mg/kg)) reached MTD. ORR and CBR were 43.2 and 62.2%, respectively. Median progression-free survival, time to progression and OS were 8.3, 9.9 and 15.8 months, respectively. Hematologic adverse events (AEs; ≥ grade 3) included lymphopenia (35.1%), thrombocytopenia (24.3%), anemia (10.8%) and neutropenia (10.8%). Nonhematologic AEs (≥ grade 3) included fever (5.4%) and hypokalemia (5.4%). These results demonstrate that replacing bortezomib with carfilzomib is safe and can be effective for MM patients failing bortezomib-containing combination regimens. This trial was registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov (#NCT01365559).