Eribulin Improves Survival for Patients with Advanced Liposarcoma
Written by Jeff Meyer on 29 Jun 2015
Good news for those who suffer from liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma: a new drug may soon hit the market that could help you beat out advanced intermediate or high grade tumors caused by this rare form of cancer. This is especially good news for those who have been trying to treat their symptoms with dacarbazine, as this new drug is showing signs that it performs even better.
The First Phase Three Study
Before getting approval, every prescription drug must go through three phases of studies that aim to prove its safety and effectiveness. The drug in question here, eribulin, just completed the first randomized study of this third phrase, demonstrating an improvement in OS in those suffering from aggressive liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma.
Of course, previous studies have also been done as well, which only produced more results that should have patients and their doctors optimistic.
The Prior Study
Right now, let’s look at one previous study that deserves some attention. During phase two, Patrick Schöffski, MD, MPH, who runs the department of general medical oncology as well as the laboratory of experimental oncology at the University Hospitals Leuven located in Belgium previously carried out a study with his colleagues. The study concluded with 32% of participants with leiomyosarcoma and 47% of those with adipocytic sarcoma achieved three-month PFS after taking eribulin.
The medication works to inhibit microtubule dynamics, which, simply put, inhibits cell division. However, it’s the extent to which it has been able to do this that has so many people hopeful.
Details on the Phase Two Study
This study included 452 patients, 53% of who were male and 79% of who were under the age of 65. 228 of them were chosen by researchers at random to take 1.4 mg/m² of eribulin through an IV on days one and eight over the course of 21 days. Then, 224 patients were assigned 850 mg/m² to 1,200 mg/m² of dacarbazine, also through an IV. They took it only on day one of every 21 days. Patients continued with this treatment until disease progression was observed.
OS was used as the primary endpoint for the study, where as three-month PFS, median PFS and safety were chosen as secondary endpoints.
For those in the eribulin group, median OS was 13.5 months. In the dacarbazine group, it was just 11.5.
The Current State of Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Treatments
As Dr. Schöffski noted, there is currently a dearth of medications for treating soft-tissue sarcomas like liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma. This is because those types of sarcoma are relatively rare. The fact that they found so many participants for a study is an impressive achievement all on its own.
Making matters worse, those drugs that are designed to treat soft-tissue sarcomas have very unsatisfactory efficacy rates, according to Dr. Schöffski. A patient may go through two or more lines of treatment only to still have cancer and facing an even worse prognosis.
That’s why these initial findings are so important. Not only is eribulin showing results at treating cancer, it’s showing impressive results against a type of cancer currently lacking in medications. The fact that eribulin may improve survival by two months is incredibly significant.
It’s also important to keep in mind that both these types of cancer have proven in the past that they aren’t overly sensitive to chemotherapy. This is one more reason why this last test is inspiring so much confidence.
While the drug definitely won’t be ready for prescription this year, it should give lots of people suffering from either advanced liposarcoma or advanced leiomyosarcoma something to celebrate. If things keep proceeding down this path, someday in the near future, they could receive an increased survival rate thanks to eribulin.