May 31 A combination of two drugs developed by
AstraZeneca Plc, olaparib and cediranib, was shown in a
mid-stage study to nearly double the length of time certain
ovarian cancer patients lived without their disease getting
After spurning a $118 billion takeover approach from Pfizer
Inc, Britain's AstraZeneca is aiming to show investors
at this weekend's meeting of the American Society of Clinical
Oncology in Chicago that its pipeline of cancer drugs offers an
opportunity for future sales growth.
The 90-patient study is the first to look at a drug that
blocks a cell repair enzyme known as PARP, olaparib, together
with a drug designed to prevent the formation of blood vessels
needed by tumors, cediranib, for treating ovarian cancer.
It demonstrated progression-free survival of 17.7 months
with the combination treatment, compared with 9 months for
olaparib alone. Patients in the trial had recurrent cancer that
had initially responded to treatment with platinum-based
chemotherapy or had cancer related to the BRCA gene.
Side effects, including high blood pressure, fatigue and
diarrhea, occurred more frequently in patients treated with the
Researchers said past trials of standard chemotherapy in the
same patient population have shown progression-free survival of
between eight and 13 months.
Platinum-based chemotherapy is one of the main treatments
used for ovarian cancer. However, it can make patients very sick
and typically loses effectiveness over time.
"The significant activity that we saw with the combination
suggests that this could potentially be an effective alternative
to standard chemotherapy," Dr Joyce Liu, the study's lead author
and an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston,
said in a statement.
AstraZeneca has projected that sales of olaparib could reach
$2 billion a year, but Wall Street estimates are lower. Leerink
forecast sales of the drug at $900 million in 2026.
(Reporting By Deena Beasley; Editing by David Gregorio)