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GSK terminates lung cancer vaccine trial

Unable to identify patients who may benefit from MAGE-A3 immunotherapy
GSK GlaxoSmithKline house

GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) woes for its investigational cancer vaccine MAGE-A3 continue after the company chose to terminate a late-stage trial of the drug in lung cancer.

The pharma company said the decision to halt the phase III MAGRIT trial was because it was unable to identify a genetic sub-population of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who might benefit from treatment with MAGE-A3.

The announcement comes two weeks after the company announced negative results from the trial, which was unable to demonstrate the superiority of MAGE-A3 over placebo when measuring disease free survival in the overall NSCLC population.

GSK's immunotherapeutics R&D head Vincent Brichard said at the time that the company had not given up complete hope on the drug, and was attempting to identify a sub-population of NSCLC patients with a specific genetic mutation that may respond better to treatment with the vaccine.

However, these attempts have proved fruitless, with GSK noting that an independent third party analysis concluded that "assessment of the third co-primary endpoint is not feasible due to an insufficient treatment effect".

It is not just lung cancer where GSK has reported negative results for MAGE-A3. Last September the company published data from the DERMA study showing the drug was unable to significantly extend disease-free survival in patients with the skin cancer melanoma.

As per the lung cancer trial, GSK said at the time it was continuing the trial to identify a sub-group of melanoma patients who might benefit from the drug.

This work on identifying melanoma patients with a responsive genetic mutation is ongoing and an outcome is expected in 2015.

The decision to pull the MAGRIT trial is the second major blow for GSK's oncology ambitions this week after the company announced it was abandoning its bid to extend the use of Votrient (pazopanib) in ovarian cancer in the EU.

2nd April 2014

From: Research

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