Lilly Stomach Cancer Drug Prolongs Life in Colon Cancer Study

The gist: A drug used to treat stomach cancer may also help treat people with advanced colorectal cancer. The drug, called Cyramza, was tested in a clinical trial—a research study with volunteer patients. The trial involved patients who had not been treated successfully with other approaches.

“Eli Lilly and Co’s LLY.N Cyramza stomach-cancer drug prolonged survival of patients with advanced colon cancer in a late-stage study, the U.S. drugmaker said on Friday.

“Based on favorable data from the Phase III study, Lilly said it would ask regulators in the first half of 2015 to approve Cyramza in patients with colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It plans to present detailed results from the trial at a scientific meeting next year.

“The 1,000-patient global study, called RAISE, involved patients who had previously failed to adequately benefit from Roche Holding AG’s ROG.VX Avastin and other standard treatments.

“Patients taking Cyramza along with chemotherapy showed a statistical improvement in survival, compared with those in the study who took a placebo and chemotherapy.”


AstraZeneca Boosted by Start of New Cancer Drug Trial

“Hopes for AstraZeneca’s promising cancer drug pipeline were boosted on Friday by news the company had moved its immuno-oncology medicine MEDI-4736 into a mid-stage study in colorectal cancer.

“The drug, which is designed to help the immune system fight tumours, will be tested in 48 patients with advanced disease in the Phase II trial, according to an update on the website clinicaltrials.gov.

“Analysts at UBS said the decision opened up ‘a potentially multi-blockbuster opportunity’, given that colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.”

Editor’s note: Immunotherapies like MEDI-4736 boost a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. MEDI-4736 will be tested in volunteer colorectal cancer patients in a clinical trial.


Phase III Trial Shows Improved Survival with TAS-102 in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Refractory to Standard Therapies

“The new combination agent TAS-102 is able to improve overall survival compared to placebo in patients whose metastatic colorectal cancer is refractory to standard therapies, researchers said.

” ‘Around 50% of patients with colorectal cancer develop metastases but eventually many of them do not respond to standard therapies,’ said Takayuki Yoshino of the National Cancer Centre Hospital East in Chiba, Japan, lead author of the phase III RECOURSE trial. ‘The RECOURSE study shows that TAS-102 improves overall survival in these patients compared to placebo. I believe that this agent will become one of the standards of care in the refractory setting of metastatic colorectal cancer in Japan and worldwide.’

“TAS-102 is a novel nucleoside anti-tumour agent consisting of trifluridine (FTD) and tipiracil hydrochloride (TPI). FTD is the active component of TAS-102 and is directly incorporated into cancer DNA, leading to DNA dysfunction. However, when FTD is taken orally it is largely degraded to an inactive form. TPI prevents the degradation of FTD. This mechanism of action is different to that of fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan…

“Douillard concluded: ‘In RECOURSE, TAS-102 was tested in patients who had received all types of chemotherapy available for colorectal cancer. I would probably move this drug into an earlier line of treatment and I would also combine it with either irinotecan or oxaliplatin.’ ”

Editor’s note: This story discusses the results of a clinical trial that tested a new treatment for colorectal cancer in volunteer patients. The trial tested whether the treatment—called TAS-102—benefits people with metastatic cancer that has not responded to standard treatment. Some patients in the trial were treated with TAS-102, and for comparison, some were given a “fake” placebo treatment. The results showed that patients treated with TAS-102 survived longer than patients who took the placebo.