Bayer-new phase 3 liver cancer data

Bayer has announced that a Phase III trial evaluating its oncology compound Stivarga® (regorafenib) tablets for the treatment of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has met its primary endpoint of a statistically significant improvement in overall survival. The study, called RESORCE, evaluated the efficacy and safety of regorafenib in patients with HCC whose disease has progressed after treatment with sorafenib. The safety and tolerability were generally consistent with the known profile of regorafenib.  Detailed efficacy and safety analyses from this study are expected to be presented at an upcoming scientific congress.

"Effective treatment options are urgently needed for patients with unresectable liver cancer," said Dr. Joerg Moeller, member of the Executive Committee of Bayer AG's Pharmaceutical Division and Head of Development. "With sorafenib having been the only systemic option for the treatment of unresectable HCC since 2007, regorafenib could now become the second proven systemic option. We would like to thank the patients and the study investigators for their contributions and participation in this study."

Bayer plans to submit data from the RESORCE study as the basis for marketing authorization of regorafenib in the treatment of unresectable HCC in 2016.

About the Phase III Study

The RESORCE [REgorafenib after SORafenib in patients with hepatoCEllular carcinoma] clinical trial is a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, multicenter Phase III study of regorafenib in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) whose disease has progressed after treatment with sorafenib. The trial enrolled approximately 573 patients who were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive either regorafenib plus best supportive care (BSC) or placebo plus BSC.

Patients received 160 mg regorafenib once daily, for 3 weeks on/1week off, or placebo with 28 days constituting one full treatment cycle. The primary endpoint of the study was overall survival, and secondary efficacy endpoints were time to progression, progression-free survival, objective tumor response rate and disease control rate. Safety and tolerability of patients were continuously monitored.

About Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of liver cancer and represents 70-85 percent of liver cancer worldwide.1 Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally.2 More than 780,000 cases of liver cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year (more than 395,000 in China, 52,000 in the European Union, and 30,000 in the United States) and the incidence rate is increasing.2,3 In 2012, approximately 746,000 people died of liver cancer including approximately 383,000 in China, 48,000 in the European Union, and 24,000 in the United States.2

About Stivarga (regorafenib)

In the United States, Stivarga is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) who have been previously treated with fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin- and irinotecan-based chemotherapy, an anti-VEGF therapy, and, if KRAS wild type, an anti-EGFR therapy. It is also indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) who have been previously treated with imatinib mesylate and sunitinib malate.4

Stivarga is a compound developed by Bayer. In 2011, Bayer entered into an agreement with Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., now an Amgen subsidiary (NASDAQ: AMGN), under which Onyx receives a royalty on all global net sales of Stivarga in oncology.

Important Safety Information for Stivarga® (regorafenib) tablets:

WARNING: HEPATOTOXICITY

  • Severe and sometimes fatal hepatotoxicity has been observed in clinical trials.
  • Monitor hepatic function prior to and during treatment.
  • Interrupt and then reduce or discontinue Stivarga for hepatotoxicity as manifested by elevated liver function tests or hepatocellular necrosis, depending upon severity and persistence.

Hepatotoxicity: Severe drug-induced liver injury with fatal outcome occurred in 0.3% of 1200 Stivarga-treated patients across all clinical trials. In metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), fatal hepatic failure occurred in 1.6% of patients in the Stivarga arm and in 0.4% of patients in the placebo arm; all the patients with hepatic failure had metastatic disease in the liver. In gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), fatal hepatic failure occurred in 0.8% of patients in the Stivarga arm.

Liver Function Monitoring: Obtain liver function tests (ALT, AST, and bilirubin) before initiation of Stivarga and monitor at least every 2 weeks during the first 2 months of treatment. Thereafter, monitor monthly or more frequently as clinically indicated. Monitor liver function tests weekly in patients experiencing elevated liver function tests until improvement to less than 3 times the upper limit of normal (ULN) or baseline values. Temporarily hold and then reduce or permanently discontinue Stivarga, depending on the severity and persistence of hepatotoxicity as manifested by elevated liver function tests or hepatocellular necrosis.

Hemorrhage: Stivarga caused an increased incidence of hemorrhage. The overall incidence (Grades 1-5) was 21% and 11% with Stivarga vs 8% and 3% with placebo in mCRC and GIST patients, respectively. Fatal hemorrhage occurred in 4 of 632 (0.6%) Stivarga-treated patients and involved the respiratory, gastrointestinal, or genitourinary tracts. Permanently discontinue Stivarga in patients with severe or life-threatening hemorrhage and monitor INR levels more frequently in patients receiving warfarin.

Dermatological Toxicity: Stivarga caused an increased incidence of hand-foot skin reaction (HFSR) (also known as palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia [PPE]) and severe rash, frequently requiring dose modification. The overall incidence was 45% and 67% with Stivarga vs 7% and 12% with placebo in mCRC and GIST patients, respectively. Incidence of Grade 3 HFSR (17% vs 0% in mCRC and 22% vs 0% in GIST), Grade 3 rash (6% vs <1% in mCRC and 7% vs 0% in GIST), serious adverse reactions of erythema multiforme (0.2% vs 0% in mCRC), and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (0.2% vs 0% in mCRC) was higher in Stivarga-treated patients. Toxic epidermal necrolysis occurred in 0.17% of 1200 Stivarga-treated patients across all clinical trials. Withhold Stivarga, reduce the dose, or permanently discontinue depending on the severity and persistence of dermatologic toxicity.

Hypertension: Stivarga caused an increased incidence of hypertension (30% vs 8% in mCRC and 59% vs 27% in GIST with Stivarga vs placebo, respectively). Hypertensive crisis occurred in 0.25% of 1200 Stivarga-treated patients across all clinical trials. Do not initiate Stivarga until blood pressure is adequately controlled. Monitor blood pressure weekly for the first 6 weeks of treatment and then every cycle, or more frequently, as clinically indicated. Temporarily or permanently withhold Stivarga for severe or uncontrolled hypertension.

Cardiac Ischemia and Infarction: Stivarga increased the incidence of myocardial ischemia and infarction in mCRC (1.2% with Stivarga vs 0.4% with placebo). Withhold Stivarga in patients who develop new or acute cardiac ischemia or infarction, and resume only after resolution of acute cardiac ischemic events if the potential benefits outweigh the risks of further cardiac ischemia.

Reversible Posterior Laukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS): Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS) occurred in 1 of 1200 Stivarga-treated patients across all clinical trials. Perform an evaluation for RPLS in any patient presenting with seizures, headache, visual disturbances, confusion, or altered mental function. Confirm the diagnosis of RPLS with MRI and discontinue Stivarga in patients who develop RPLS.

Gastrointestinal Perforation or Fistula: Gastrointestinal perforation or fistula occurred in 0.6% of 1200 patients treated with Stivarga across clinical trials. In GIST, 2.1% (4/188) of Stivarga-treated patients developed gastrointestinal fistula or perforation: of these, 2 cases of gastrointestinal perforation were fatal. Permanently discontinue Stivarga in patients who develop gastrointestinal perforation or fistula.

Wound Healing Complications: Treatment with Stivarga should be stopped at least 2 weeks prior to scheduled surgery. Resuming treatment after surgery should be based on clinical judgment of adequate wound healing. Stivarga should be discontinued in patients with wound dehiscence.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Stivarga can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Use effective contraception during treatment and up to 2 months after completion of therapy. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.

Nursing Mothers: Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from Stivarga, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Most Frequently Observed Adverse Drug Reactions in mCRC: The most frequently observed adverse drug reactions (≥30%) in Stivarga-treated patients vs placebo-treated patients in mCRC, respectively, were: asthenia/fatigue (64% vs 46%), decreased appetite and food intake (47% vs 28%), HFSR/PPE (45% vs 7%), diarrhea (43% vs 17%), mucositis (33% vs 5%), weight loss (32% vs 10%), infection (31% vs 17%), hypertension (30% vs 8%), and dysphonia (30% vs 6%).

Most Frequently Observed Adverse Drug Reactions in GIST: The most frequently observed adverse drug reactions (≥30%) in Stivarga-treated patients vs placebo-treated patients in GIST, respectively, were: HFSR/PPE (67% vs 12%), hypertension (59% vs 27%), asthenia/fatigue (52% vs 39%), diarrhea (47% vs 9%), mucositis (40% vs 8%), dysphonia (39% vs 9%), infection (32% vs 5%), decreased appetite and food intake (31% vs 21%), and rash (30% vs 3%).

For full prescribing information, including the Boxed Warning, visit http://labeling.bayerhealthcare.com/html/products/pi/Stivarga_PI.pdf.

About NEXAVAR® (sorafenib) Tablets

NEXAVAR is approved in the U.S. for the treatment of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma, patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma and patients with locally recurrent or metastatic, progressive, differentiated thyroid carcinoma that is refractory to radioactive iodine treatment.

Important Safety Considerations For NEXAVAR® (sorafenib) Tablets

  • NEXAVAR is contraindicated in patients with known severe hypersensitivity to sorafenib or any other component of NEXAVAR
  • NEXAVAR in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel is contraindicated in patients with squamous cell lung cancer
  • Cardiac ischemia and/or myocardial infarction may occur. The incidence of cardiac ischemia/infarction in NEXAVAR-treated vs placebo-treated patients was 2.7% vs 1.3%, 2.9% vs 0.4%, and 1.9% vs 0% in the HCC, RCC, and DTC studies, respectively. Temporary or permanent discontinuation of NEXAVAR should be considered in patients who develop cardiac ischemia and/or myocardial infarction
  • An increased risk of bleeding may occur following NEXAVAR administration. The following bleeding adverse reactions were reported in the NEXAVAR-treated vs placebo-treated patients, respectively, in the HCC study: bleeding from esophageal varices (2.4% vs 4%) and bleeding with fatal outcome at any site (2.4% vs 4%); in the RCC study: bleeding regardless of causality (15.3% vs 8.2%), Grade 3 bleeding (2.0% vs 1.3%), Grade 4 bleeding (0% vs 0.2%), and one fatal hemorrhage in each treatment group; in the DTC study: bleeding (17.4% vs 9.6%) and Grade 3 bleeding (1% vs 1.4%).There was no Grade 4 bleeding reported and there was one fatal hemorrhage in a placebo-treated patient. If bleeding necessitates medical intervention, consider permanent discontinuation of NEXAVAR. Due to the potential risk of bleeding, tracheal, bronchial, and esophageal infiltration should be treated with local therapy prior to administering NEXAVAR in patients with DTC
  • Monitor blood pressure weekly during the first 6 weeks and periodically thereafter, and treat, if required. In the HCC study, hypertension was reported in approximately 9.4% of NEXAVAR-treated patients and 4.3% of patients in the placebo-treated group. In the RCC study, hypertension was reported in approximately 16.9% of NEXAVAR-treated patients and 1.8% of patients in the placebo-treated group. In the DTC study, hypertension was reported in 40.6% of NEXAVAR-treated patients and 12.4% of the placebo-treated patients. Hypertension was usually mild to moderate, occurred early in the course of treatment, and was managed with standard antihypertensive therapy. In cases of severe or persistent hypertension despite institution of antihypertensive therapy, consider temporary or permanent discontinuation of NEXAVAR
  • Hand-foot skin reaction and rash are the most common adverse reactions attributed to NEXAVAR. Management may include topical therapies for symptomatic relief. In cases of any severe or persistent adverse reactions, temporary treatment interruption, dose modification, or permanent discontinuation of NEXAVAR should be considered. There have been reports of severe dermatologic toxicities, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). These cases may be life-threatening. Discontinue NEXAVAR if SJS or TEN are suspected
  • Gastrointestinal perforation was an uncommon adverse reaction and has been reported in less than 1% of patients taking NEXAVAR. Discontinue NEXAVAR in the event of a gastrointestinal perforation
  • Infrequent bleeding or elevations in the International Normalized Ratio (INR) have been reported in some patients taking warfarin while on NEXAVAR. Monitor patients taking concomitant warfarin regularly for changes in prothrombin time (PT), INR, or clinical bleeding episodes
  • Temporary interruption of NEXAVAR therapy is recommended in patients undergoing major surgical procedures
  • In a subset analysis of two randomized controlled trials in chemo-naïve patients with Stage IIIB-IV non-small cell lung cancer, patients with squamous cell carcinoma experienced higher mortality with the addition of NEXAVAR compared to those treated with carboplatin/paclitaxel alone (HR 1.81, 95% CI 1.19–2.74) and gemcitabine/cisplatin alone (HR 1.22, 95% CI 0.82-1.80). NEXAVAR, in combination with gemcitabine/cisplatin, is not recommended in patients with squamous cell lung cancer. The safety and effectiveness of NEXAVAR has not been established in patients with non-small cell lung cancer
  • NEXAVAR can prolong the QT/QTc interval and increase the risk for ventricular arrhythmias. Avoid use in patients with congenital long QT syndrome and monitor electrolytes and electrocardiograms in patients with congestive heart failure, bradyarrhythmias, drugs known to prolong the QT interval, including Class Ia and III antiarrhythmics, and electrolyte abnormalities. Correct electrolyte abnormalities (magnesium, potassium, calcium). Interrupt NEXAVAR if QTc interval is greater than 500 milliseconds or for an increase from baseline of 60 milliseconds or greater
  • Sorafenib-induced hepatitis is characterized by a hepatocellular pattern of liver damage with significant increases of transaminases which may result in hepatic failure and death. Increases in bilirubin and INR may also occur. Liver function tests should be monitored regularly and in cases of increased transaminases without alternative explanation NEXAVAR should be discontinued
  • NEXAVAR may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Women of child-bearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant while on NEXAVAR
  • Female patients should be advised against breastfeeding while receiving NEXAVAR
  • In DTC, NEXAVAR impairs exogenous thyroid suppression. Elevation of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level above 0.5 mU/L was observed in 41% of NEXAVAR-treated patients as compared with 16% of placebo-treated patients in the DTC study. For patients with impaired TSH suppression while receiving NEXAVAR, the median maximal TSH was 1.6 mU/L and 25% had TSH levels greater than 4.4 mU/L. Monitor TSH levels monthly and adjust thyroid replacement medication as needed in patients with DTC
  • In the HCC study, the most common laboratory abnormalities observed in the NEXAVAR arm versus the placebo arm, respectively, were hypoalbuminemia (59% vs. 47%), lymphopenia (47% vs. 42%), thrombocytopenia (46% vs. 41%), elevation in INR (42% vs. 34%), elevated lipase (40% vs. 37%), hypophosphatemia (35% vs. 11%), elevated amylase (34% vs. 29%), hypocalcemia (27% vs. 15%), and hypokalemia (9.5% vs. 5.9%)
  • In the RCC study, the most common laboratory abnormalities observed in the NEXAVAR arm versus the placebo arm, respectively, were hypophosphatemia (45% vs. 11%), anemia (44% vs. 49%), elevated lipase (41% vs. 30%), elevated amylase (30% vs. 23%), lymphopenia (23% vs. 13%), neutropenia (18% vs. 10%), thrombocytopenia (12% vs. 5%), hypocalcemia (12% vs. 8%), and hypokalemia (5.4% vs. 0.7%)
  • In the DTC study, the most common laboratory abnormalities observed in the NEXAVAR arm versus the placebo arm, respectively, were elevated ALT (59% vs. 24%), elevated AST (54% vs. 15%), and hypocalcemia (36% vs. 11%).The relative increase for the following laboratory abnormalities observed in NEXAVAR-treated DTC patients as compared to placebo-treated patients is similar to that observed in the RCC and HCC studies: lipase, amylase, hypokalemia, hypophosphatemia, neutropenia, lymphopenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia
  • Avoid concomitant use of strong CYP3A4 inducers, when possible, because inducers can decrease the systemic exposure of sorafenib. NEXAVAR exposure decreases when co-administered with oral neomycin. Effects of other antibiotics on NEXAVAR pharmacokinetics have not been studied
  • Most common adverse reactions reported for NEXAVAR-treated patients vs placebo-treated patients in unresectable HCC, respectively, were: diarrhea (55% vs. 25%), fatigue (46% vs. 45%), abdominal pain (31% vs. 26%), weight loss (30% vs. 10%), anorexia (29% vs. 18%), nausea (24% vs. 20%), and hand-foot skin reaction (21% vs. 3%). Grade 3/4 adverse reactions were 45% vs. 32%
  • Most common adverse reactions reported for NEXAVAR-treated patients vs placebo-treated patients in advanced RCC, respectively, were: diarrhea (43% vs. 13%), rash/desquamation (40% vs. 16%), fatigue (37% vs. 28%), hand-foot skin reaction (30% vs. 7%), alopecia (27% vs. 3%), and nausea (23% vs. 19%). Grade 3/4 adverse reactions were 38% vs. 28%
  • Most common adverse reactions reported for NEXAVAR-treated patients vs placebo-treated patients in DTC, respectively, were: palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (PPES) (69% vs. 8%), diarrhea (68% vs. 15%), alopecia (67% vs. 8%), weight loss (49% vs. 14%), fatigue (41% vs. 20%), hypertension (41% vs. 12%), rash (35% vs. 7%), decreased appetite (30% vs. 5%), stomatitis (24% vs. 3%), nausea (21% vs. 12%), pruritus (20% vs. 11%), and abdominal pain (20% vs. 7%). Grade 3/4 adverse reactions were 65% vs. 30%

For full prescribing information, visit http://labeling.bayerhealthcare.com/html/products/pi/Nexavar_PI.pdf.

About Oncology at Bayer

Bayer is committed to delivering science for a better life by advancing a portfolio of innovative treatments. The oncology franchise at Bayer now includes three oncology products and several other compounds in various stages of clinical development. Together, these products reflect the company's approach to research, which prioritizes targets and pathways with the potential to impact the way that cancer is treated.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.us.

Bayer® and the Bayer Cross® are registered trademarks of Bayer.

  1. Jemal A, Bray F, Center M, et. al. Global Cancer Statistics. CA Cancer J Clin. 2011;61:69–90.
  2. GLOBOCAN 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012. http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_cancer.aspx. Accessed on April 25, 2016
  3. American Cancer Society. Liver Cancer. 2016. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003114-pdf.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2016.
  4. STIVARGA® (regorafenib) [Prescribing Information]. Whippany, NJ: Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, April 2015.
  5. NEXAVAR® (sorafenib) [Prescribing Information]. Whippany, NJ: Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, November 2013.
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