According to an early online publication in the journal Cancer, the targeted agent Vectibix™ (panitumumab) has anticancer activity when used as a single agent among patients who have received prior therapy for colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Patients who have already received therapy and experience disease progression or a recurrence following standard therapies have limited treatment options.
Vectibix is a new targeted therapy that binds to specific targets on cancer cells. Vectibix targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a biologic pathway that is involved in the growth and spread of cancer. By targeting EGFR, Vectibix can destroy cancer cells directly while sparing healthy cells from the side effects of treatment. Vectibix, which is FDA approved, is often used in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of colorectal cancer.
Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate use of Vectibix as a single agent in the treatment of colorectal cancer among patients who had received prior therapy. This trial included 148 patients whose cancer had progressed following chemotherapy that included fluorouracil plus Camptosar® (irinotecan) or Eloxatin® (oxaliplatin) or both.
- Regression of cancer occurred in 9% of patients.
- Disease stabilization occurred in 29% of patients.
- Median progression-free survival was 14 weeks.
- Median overall survival was nine months.
- Side effects affecting the skin occurred in 95% of patients but were rarely severe.
- Four patients discontinued treatment with Vectibix due to side effects.
The researchers concluded that Vectibix used as a single agent provides anticancer activity among patients with colorectal cancer who have received prior standard chemotherapy regimens. Patients with recurrent colorectal cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of treatment with Vectibix.
Reference: Hecht J, Patnaik A, Berlin J, et al. Panitumumab monotherapy in patients with previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer. Cancer [early online publication]. August 1, 2007.