breast cancer drug stumbles, but trial continues
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[August 11, 2016]
(Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly
and Co on Wednesday said it would continue a late-stage trial of its
experimental breast cancer drug in combination with a widely used
treatment even though an independent panel determined the combination
therapy failed to meet its interim effectiveness goal.
The independent data monitoring committee recommended the trial
continue without modification through the first half of 2017 despite
the fact that its interim look at the data suggested the combination
treatment was not delaying progression of the disease.
Lilly shares were down 1.2 percent in morning trading.
Leerink analyst Seamus Fernandez said continuation of the study,
called Monarch 2, would allow Lilly to better understand abemaciclib,
which is also being tested in a variety of other trials.
The Monarch 2 study included 669 patients who had previously failed
to benefit from anti-estrogen treatment for metastatic breast
cancer. It compared combined use of abemaciclib and anti-estrogen
therapy fulvestrant with fulvestrant alone.
Lilly's drug is from the same new class of breast cancer treatments
as Pfizer Inc's recently approved Ibrance, which brought in more
than half a billion dollars in second-quarter sales. They work
through a new mechanism, by blocking the proteins CDK 4 and CDK 6.
Lilly is evaluating abemaciclib as a single agent in breast cancer
patients who have not derived enough benefit from prior treatments.
Three other studies are testing abemaciclib with other drugs.
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Abemaciclib, which was granted the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration's (FDA) breakthrough therapy status for breast cancer
last year, is also being tested for use in lung cancer.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among
women in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 40,000 of the 220,000 American women diagnosed with breast
cancer die each year, the CDC estimates.
(Additional reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by
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