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The Lancet Oncology

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sorafenib (Nexavar®) Significantly Improves the Length of Time Before Breast Cancer Worsens: Results From First, Large Randomized Trial

Approximately 30 studies evaluating the use of sorafenib (Nexavar®, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals/Onyx Pharmaceuticals)tablets across tumor types – as a single agent or in combination with other therapies – were presented at Europe’s largest cancer congress, the joint 15th European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) and 34th European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Multidisciplinary Congress, September 20 – 24 in Berlin.

The presentations at the ECCO/ESMO conference continue to build on our large body of data in unresectable liver cancer and advanced kidney cancer where sorafenib has a proven track record,” said Dimitris Voliotis, Vice President, Global Clinical Development Oncology. “Additionally, we are very enthusiastic about the presented Phase 2 studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of sorafenbib in other tumor types, including breast and thyroid cancers.”

One of the first of a series of trials to investigate the use of sorafenib – a targeted anti-cancer drug – for the treatment of advanced breast cancer has found that if it is combined with the chemotherapy drug, capecitabine (Xeloda®, Roche, Basel, Switzerland), it makes a significant difference to the time women live without their disease worsening.

Principal investigator of the study, Professor José Baselga told his audience: “This is the first, large, randomized study that demonstrates significant clinical activity of sorafenib in breast cancer when given in combination with chemotherapy. Our results showed that patients who received sorafenib plus capecitabine had a 74% percent improvement in the time they lived without their disease worsening compared to those who received the chemotherapy alone. This is a very positive study and the magnitude of the benefit is such that it suggests that this agent will be an important addition to our therapeutic armory in breast cancer.”

Sorafenib is a potent multi-kinase inhibitor, which works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells and slowing the growth of new blood vessels within the tumor. Until now, it has only been used in the treatment of kidney and liver cancer.

Prof Baselga, who is head of the oncology department at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital (Barcelona, Spain), president of ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology) and a member of the ECCO (European CanCer Organization) executive committee, and his colleagues in Spain, France and Brazil enrolled 229 patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer in the double-blind, randomized phase II clinical trial between June 2007 and December 2008. They randomized the patients to receive capecitabine (1000 mg/m2 pill taken twice daily for 14 of every 21 days) and a placebo (114 women), or capecitabine and sorafenib (400 mg pill taken twice daily continuously) for 115 women.

The very first results from the trial only became available in time for the ECCO 15 – ESMO 34 congress, and they show that the average progression free survival (the time that elapses without the cancer getting worse) was 6.4 months for women on capecitabine and sorafenib compared to 4.1 months for women taking the placebo. It is too early for data on overall survival to be available. The only death that occurred was in the placebo arm of the trial, attributed to the effect of capecitabine. The number of patients discontinuing treatment due to adverse side-effects was nine (8%) in the placebo arm and 15 (13.4%) in the sorafenib arm of the trial.

Prof Baselga said: “The regimen was tolerable and the side-effects were mostly manageable. No new or unexpected side effects were observed with this combination. The fact that this treatment could be taken orally may represent a unique and convenient treatment option for patients with breast cancer.

“This trial is an example of good academia and industry partnership. It was designed and conducted by the Spanish breast cooperative group SOLTI with the participation also of Brazilian and French groups. The trial was fully supported by Onyx and Bayer. Based on the encouraging data from this trial so far, Onyx and Bayer are evaluating various strategies for sorafenib in breast cancer.

“This trial is the first of a series of randomized phase II studies with sorafenib that are currently underway in breast cancer. Based on our results, we believe that the drug shows considerable promise for the treatment of the disease.”

For more information:

  • Jose Baselga, M.D., Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. A double-blind, randomized phase 2b study evaluating the efficacy and safety of sorafenib (SOR) compared to placebo (PL) when administered in combination with capecitabine (CAP) in patients (pts) with locally advanced (adv) or metastatic (met) breast cancer (BC). Late-breaking abstract 3LBA, Presidential Session III, Wednesday, September 23, 1:30 p.m., Hall 1

Other trial results:

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • Jean-Luc Raoul, M.D., Centre Eugène Marquis, Rennes, France. Effect of Macroscopic Vascular Invasion (MVI), Extrahepatic Spread (EHS), and ECOG Performance Status (ECOG PS) on Outcome in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) Treated with Sorafenib: Analysis of Two Phase 3, Randomized Double-Blind Trials. Abstract 6621, Poster 309, Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Hall 14.1
  • Josep Llovet, M.D., Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) Group, Liver Unit, CIBERehd, IDIBAPS, Hospital Clinic Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. Efficacy and Safety of Sorafenib in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC): Collective Results from the Phase III Sorafenib HCC Assessment Randomized Protocol (SHARP) and Asia-Pacific (AP) Trials. Abstract 6519, Poster 13, Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m., Poster Discussion, 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Central Lobby (Outside Hall 3)

Renal Cell Carcinoma

  • Joachim Beck, M.D., Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität III. Medizinische Klinik, Mainz, Germany. Final Analysis of a Large Open-label, Noncomparative, Phase 3 Study of Sorafenib in European Patients with Advanced RCC (EU-ARCCS). Abstract 7137, Poster 150, Monday, September 21, 2009, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Hall 14.1
  • Hideyuki Akaza, M.D., Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. Efficacy and Safety of Long-term Use of Sorafenib: Final Report of a Phase II Trial of Sorafenib in Japanese Patients with Unresectable/Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma. Abstract 7147, Poster 160, Monday, September 21, 2009, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Hall 14.1
  • Ronald M. Bukowski, M.D., Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland, OH. Efficacy and Safety of Sorafenib in Patients with Advanced Clear-Cell Renal-Cell Carcinoma (RCC) with Bone Metastases: Results from the Phase III TARGET Study Abstract 7130, Poster 143, Monday, September 21, 2009, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Hall 14.1
  • Dirk Jäger, M.D., National Center for Tumor Diseases, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. PREDICT (Patient characteristics in REnal cell carcinoma and Daily practICe Treatment with Nexavar) Global Non-interventional Study: First interim results. Abstract 7128, Poster 141, Monday, September 21, 2009, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Hall 14.1

Thyroid Cancer

  • Marcia Brose, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Department of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, Abrahamson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. Completion of a Phase II study of sorafenib for advanced thyroid cancer. Late-breaking poster 51LBA, Poster 276, Tuesday, September 22, 11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Hall 14.1

Highlights of Prescribing Information:

Also read these Pubmed Abstracts:

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