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New drug overcomes resistance in patients with rare sarcoma
Date:11/21/2012

id, it was not expected to prove that the patients initially randomized to receive regorafenib survived longer the researchers would have had to withhold the drug from the placebo patients to demonstrate that difference. "But there is no question that people are living longer" with regorafenib treatment, he said, based on the results of this trial.

An application to have regorafenib approved for use in resistant GIST is under an accelerated review by the Food and Drug Administration, Demetri said.

GIST is a rare form of sarcoma that develops in the gastrointestinal tract, mainly in the stomach and small intestine. GIST is estimated to affect more than 5,000 people per year in the United States and about 8,000 in Europe.

Regorafenib is a novel rationally designed drug manufactured by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals that was FDA-approved in September 2012 to treat metastatic colon cancer after failure of standard chemotherapy. It blocks several cancer-promoting enzymes called kinases, which spur runaway growth in GIST and other cancers.

The phase 3 international trial involved 199 treatment-resistant GIST patients at 57 hospitals in 176 countries. Of the 199 patients, 133 received a regorafenib pill daily for three weeks followed by a one-week break, while 66 received a matching placebo. The patients were monitored for at least one year after the trial began.

As for other targeted therapies, the drug did not often shrink tumors but controlled the disease for an average of 4.8 months before it progressed, while patients in the placebo group experienced less than one month (0.9 month) before the disease worsened. There was a high rate of adverse effects including high blood pressure, fatigue, diarrhea, and redness, swelling, numbness and peeling of skin on the hands and feet. These side effects were managed by reducing or interrupting the regorafenib treatment, the report said.

A companion report in The Lancet
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Contact: Robbin Ray
robbin_ray@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-4090
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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