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Lilly’s Cyramza disappoints in liver cancer

Fails to improve overall survival by significant margin
Eli Lilly HQ

Lilly's cancer drug Cyramza has continued its mixed history of clinical trial results after a disappointing performance in a liver cancer study.

The drug, which was approved this year to treat stomach cancer, was able to improve overall survival in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma compared to placebo, but not by a significant enough margin to hit the primary endpoint of the trial.

It was being investigated as a second-line treatment in patients who had already been treated with Bayer's Nexavar (sorafenib) in the first-line setting.

Cyramza (ramucirumab) was acquired by Lilly via its purchase of ImClone Systems in 2008 and the drug has been tipped as one of its main prospects in oncology due in part to its potential in a number of cancers.

In addition to its approval in stomach cancer, the drug has also demonstrated positive phase III data in lung cancer. However, Cyramza has already failed in a phase III trial investigating its use in breast cancer, and the latest results in liver cancer further restrict the drug's potential.

Despite the disappointing results, Richard Gaynor, senior VP product development and medical affairs for Lilly Oncology, discussed the possibility of the drug's use in a specific set of patients with liver cancer.

“We are encouraged by the efficacy seen overall, especially in specific subpopulations,” he said. “We plan to discuss these results with regulatory authorities."

No specifics were given about the subset of patients referenced by Gaynor, although Lilly intends to present data from the phase III REACH trial at a scientific meeting this year.

Lilly also plans to publish this year results of a trial investigating the use of Cyramza as treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer.

Article by
Thomas Meek

12th June 2014

From: Research

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