Kidney cancer roundup

Pfizer Inc. says that its oral drug Inlyta (axitinib) has been granted European approval for use as a second-line therapy for kidney cancer patients, according to Reuters News. The drug, already approved in the United States, has been approved in Europe as a second-line treatment for patients who have not responded to initial chemotherapy.

The company announced that the approval was based on data from a clinical trial showing that the drug significantly extended progression-free survival in patients who did not respond to treatment with a different Pfizer drug, Sutent.

In January 2012, axitinib was approved in the United States for the same indication as the European approval. Axitinib works by inhibiting proteins that can influence tumor growth and cancer progression.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) affects 102,000 people in Europe every year, the company reported.

In other kidney cancer news, Seattle Genetics has embarked on a clinical trial to assess the safety of its monoclonal antibody–based therapy for advanced kidney cancer. The phase 1b trial will also measure the compound’s ability to fight the tumors safely. The compound, called SGN-75, is taken in combination with a cancer drug called everolimus to treat kidney cancer. Everolimus is an oral prescription medication used to treat advanced RCC when certain other medicines, such as sunitinib or sorafenib, have not worked.

SGN-75 is an antibody-drug conjugate composed of an antibody attached to a synthetic cell-killing agent, using Seattle Genetics’ proprietary technology, according to the website Investor Report.

“We are encouraged by the preliminary single-agent activity and tolerability demonstrated by SGN-75 in RCC patients and by our preclinical data suggesting synergy,” with drugs like everolimus, called mTOR inhibitors, said Jonathan Drachman, MD, senior vice president of research and translational medicine at Seattle Genetics. He said that his company looks forward to learning whether the combination “can provide therapeutic benefit to patients who currently have limited treatment options.”

According to Seattle Genetics, the study is expected to enroll up to 40 patients at several centers in the United States and is enrolling patients who have previously been treated with one or two tyrosine kinase inhibitor drugs.