The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Votrient
(pazopanib) to treat patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma who have previously received chemotherapy
. Soft tissue sarcoma is a cancer
that begins in the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, and other tissues.
Votrient is a pill that works by interfering with angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels needed for solid tumors to grow and survive.
A rare cancer with many subtypes, soft tissue sarcoma occurs in about 10,000 cases annually in the United States. More than 20 subtypes of sarcoma were included in the clinical trial leading to approval of Votrient. The drug is not approved for patients with adipocytic soft tissue sarcoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
"Soft tissue sarcomas are a diverse group of tumors and the approval of Votrient for this general class of tumors is the first in decades," said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Drug development for sarcomas has been especially challenging because of the limited number of patients and multiple subtypes of sarcomas."
The safety and effectiveness of Votrient was evaluated in a single clinical study in 369 patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma who had received prior chemotherapy. Patients were randomly selected to receive Votrient or a placebo. The study was designed to measure the length of time a patient lived without the cancer progressing (progression-free survival). The disease did not progress for a median of 4.6 months for patients receiving Votrient, compared with 1.6 months for those receiving the placebo.