Heron Therapeutics Announces Positive Results from Phase 3 MAGIC Study of SUSTOL®

“Heron Therapeutics, Inc. HRTX, +60.00% today announced positive, top-line results from its recently completed Phase 3 MAGIC study. MAGIC evaluated the efficacy and safety of the Company’s 5-HT3 receptor antagonist product candidate SUSTOL® (granisetron injection, extended release) as part of a three-drug regimen with the intravenous (IV) neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptor antagonist fosaprepitant and the IV corticosteroid dexamethasone for the prevention of delayed-onset chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) following administration of highly emetogenic chemotherapy (HEC) agents.

“The MAGIC study is the only Phase 3 CINV prophylaxis study in a HEC population performed to-date to use as a comparator the currently recommended, standard-of-care, three-drug regimen: a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist (in this case ondansetron), fosaprepitant and dexamethasone. The study was conducted entirely in the U.S. and enrolled over 900 patients undergoing HEC treatment for various tumor types.”


Synta Announces Advancement of Ganetespib into Phase 3 Extension of AML LI-1 Study for Patients with AML and High-Risk MDS

The gist: Researchers are conducting a clinical trial with volunteer patients to test new treatments for newly diagnosed elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) who, for whatever reason, cannot undergo intensive chemotherapy. One of the treatments being tested combines the drugs ganetespib and cytarabine. Based on promising results for patients from phase 2 of the trial, the combination treatment is advancing to phase 3, in which it will be tested in even more patients.

“Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. SNTA +2.46% today announced the advancement of ganetespib into the Phase 3 extension of the AML LI-1 (less intensive) trial. AML LI-1 is a multicenter, randomized Phase 2/3 clinical study evaluating several novel treatment regimens, including the combination of ganetespib with low dose cytarabine (Ara-C), in newly diagnosed elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) who are not eligible for intensive chemotherapy. Ganetespib is a next-generation inhibitor of the chaperone protein Hsp90, which is critical for the activation and stability of numerous proteins that drive cancer growth and proliferation. Ganetespib has been studied in over 1000 patients to date.

“Advancement into the Phase 3 extension follows an interim analysis of results from 50 patients who received the ganetespib-cytarabine combination in the Phase 2 portion of the trial. The primary efficacy outcome in Phase 2 was rate of complete response. Per protocol, the Phase 3 extension will include an interim futility analysis and enroll approximately 200 patients in the ganetespib-cytarabine and the cytarabine alone arms, for a total of approximately 400 patients. The primary efficacy endpoint for the Phase 3 extension will include overall survival. The Company is currently in discussion with study investigators, and anticipates providing additional details, including the timing of study milestones, as they become formalized.”


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.


AbbVie Initiates Veliparib Phase III Trial in BRCA-mutated Advanced Breast Cancer Patients

“AbbVie has initiated its Phase III trial investigating the safety and efficacy of the investigational PARP inhibitor veliparib in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel in advanced breast cancer patients.

“In the double-blind study, researchers will randomize nearly 300 patients to receive either veliparib, plus the carboplatin/paclitaxel combination, or just the chemotherapy regimen. Metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer patients enrolled in the trial will have to have tumors that are HER2 negative, but positive for BRCA1/2 mutations. AbbVie is working with Myriad Genetics to use its BRACAnalysis test to gauge BRCA mutations in study subjects.

“Researchers will assess in the study whether adding veliparib significantly increases patients’ progression-free survival compared to treatment with only chemotherapy. Other endpoints in the study are overall survival, clinical benefit rate, objective response rate, and duration of response.”

Editor’s note: Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments on volunteer patients. In many clinical trials, some patients receive the new drug being tested, and for comparison, some patients receive “standard of care” treatment, meaning a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatment that their oncologists would likely have considered for them. This story discusses a new clinical trial that is testing a drug called veliparib. The trial is enrolling people with advanced breast cancer who are HER2 negative and have BRCA1/2 mutations. Some of the patients will be treated with standard chemotherapy (a combination of the drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel), and some will receive veliparib PLUS standard chemotherapy. The trial is randomized, meaning patients will not get to choose which of the two treatments they receive. The goal of the clinical trial is to figure out whether adding veliparib to the chemo improves outcomes for patients.


Takeda Announces Termination of Orteronel (TAK-700) Development for Prostate Cancer in Japan, U.S.A. and Europe

“Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited announced today that it has voluntarily decided to end the development program for orteronel (TAK-700) for prostate cancer. The decision follows the results of two Phase 3 clinical trials in metastatic, castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The studies found while orteronel plus prednisone could extend the time patients lived before their cancer progressed, it did not extend overall survival in these patients. After careful consideration of the data from these trials, the company has determined that the drug has not demonstrated a clinical profile sufficient to move forward in mCRPC, given the availability of other therapies.”

Editor’s note: Orteronel is a drug that showed some promise in for treating metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). However, the manufacturers of the drug found that it was not good enough compared to other treatments, and they have decided to stop developing it. We recently posted a news story in which orteronel showed mixed results as a treatment for mCRPC.


Continued Event-Free Survival Benefit of Neoadjuvant/Adjuvant Trastuzumab in HER2-Positive Locally Advanced Breast Cancer

The gist: A recent clinical trial found that the drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) improves survival and lowers the risk of recurrence for women with HER2-positive, locally advanced breast cancer. Patients in the trial received Herceptin as part of both neoadjuvant (before surgery) and adjuvant (after surgery) treatment. The researchers followed the patients for five years after treatment.

“As reported by Gianni et al in The Lancet Oncology, long-term follow-up of women with HER2-positive locally advanced breast cancer receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy alone vs with neoadjuvant and adjuvant trastuzumab (Herceptin) in the phase III NOAH trial has shown continued event-free survival benefit of trastuzumab treatment and a strong association of event-free survival with pathologic complete response rate in trastuzumab recipients.

“In this open-label trial, 235 women with HER2-positive locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer were randomly assigned to receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy alone (n = 118) or with 1 year of trastuzumab given concurrently with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and continued after surgery. (A parallel group with HER2-negative disease received neoadjuvant chemotherapy alone; outcomes in this group are not reported here.)”


Phase III Trial of Adding Figitumumab to Chemotherapy in Advanced Nonadenocarcinoma NSCLC Stopped Early for Futility and Increased Harm

“In the first phase III trial assessing the combination of an insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) inhibitor with chemotherapy as first-line treatment for advanced nonadenocarcinoma non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the addition of the fully human immunoglobulin G2 monoclonal antibody figitumumab to paclitaxel/carboplatin did not improve overall survival over chemotherapy alone. The study, reported by Langer et al in Journal of Clinical Oncology, was stopped early due to futility and an increased frequency of serious adverse events, including treatment-related death, in patients receiving figitumumab.”

Editor’s note: In a clinical trial with volunteer patients, a new drug called figitumumab did not show any benefits over standard chemotherapy. The clinical trial was stopped earlier than scheduled because of serious side effects of fogitumumab, including, for some patients, death.


Prostate Cancer Drug Delivers Benefits Before Chemotherapy

“A drug used to treat men with late-stage prostate cancer proved effective in stemming progression of the disease in research participants who had not yet received chemotherapy and extended their survival, according to results from a multi-national Phase III clinical trial led by the Knight Cancer Institute .

“A comprehensive analysis of the study’s results ― published in June 1 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine and to be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago ― found participants treated with enzalutamide saw an 81 percent reduction in the risk the cancer would progress and a 29 percent reduction in the risk of death. The oral medication, which is marketed under the brand name Xtandi®, also helped prevent the spread of the disease to the bones, delayed the need for chemotherapy, and reduced evidence of prostate cancer in the bloodstream.

” ‘Based on the study results, this drug could fill an important gap in prostate cancer treatment today. The strong response to this new use of enzalutamide shows that it can provide a viable, less toxic alternative to chemotherapy in staving off the disease in men who aren’t responding to standard first line hormonal treatments,’ said Tomasz Beer, M.D., the lead author on the study and deputy director of the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU.”

Editor’s note: Learn more about clinical trials.


Combination Dabrafenib/Trametinib Increased PFS in BRAF-Positive Melanoma

“Data from a phase 3 trial demonstrate combination dabrafenib and trametinib was superior to dabrafenib plus placebo for improved PFS in patients with BRAFV600-positive metastatic melanoma, according to data presented here at the ASCO Annual Meeting.

“ ‘This is the first melanoma trial, phase 3, to have an active control arm,’ researcher Georgina V. Long, BSc, PhD, MBBS, FRCP, oncologist at Melanoma Institute Australia at the University of Sydney, said of the COMBI-D trial.”

Editor’s note: This story describes the results of a clinical trial, in which volunteer patients are help test a new treatment. The treatment consists of a combination of the targeted therapy drugs dabrafenib and trametinib. Patients treated with the combination lived longer without progression of their cancer than patients who received dabrafenib plus a non-active placebo. Importantly, these results are specific to patients whose tumors have “BRAF V600E” mutations, which doctors can detect via molecular testing.