Peregrine drug shows promise against breast cancer

Thu May 27, 2010 7:50am EDT

* 75 pct of patients respond to the drug

* Progression-free survival of 6.9 months

LOS ANGELES May 27 (Reuters) - A small, mid-stage trial of an experimental breast cancer drug developed by Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc (PPHM.O) showed that 74 percent of patients responded to the treatment, according to the company.

The Phase 2 trial enrolled 46 patients with advanced breast cancer who were treated with a combination of the drug, called bavituximab, and chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel and carboplatin.

The trial found that, after a treatment period of about six months, 34 patients achieved an "objective tumor response," meaning their tumors shrank at least 30 percent. Four patients, or 9 percent, had their tumors completely disappear.

Patients survived a median of 6.9 months without their cancer worsening and overall survival will eventually be reported, Peregrine said.

By comparison, an older trial showed that treating advanced breast cancer patients with the chemo drugs alone resulted in a response rate of 62 percent and median progression-free survival of 4.8 months.

Side effects were in line with those typically seen with chemo drugs, said Marvin Garovoy, head of clinical science at Peregrine.

Bavituximab is an antibody designed to reactivate the immune system to fight tumors and tumor blood vessels.

Peregrine, which will present the bavituximab data at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology next month, said it is planning future Phase 2 trials.

Garovoy said the company plans to launch by the middle of this year a controlled study of the drug in lung cancer patients. (Reporting by Deena Beasley; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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