Takeda and HUTCHMED’s cancer drug shown to prolong overall survival

James Spargo | June 16, 2023 | News story | Research and Development HUTCHMED, Oncology, Takeda, colorectal cancer 

Clinical trial data from a study into the metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) drug fruquintinib, which is being developed by Japanese biopharma company Takeda and Hong Kong-based HUTCHMED, has revealed “statistically significant” improvement in overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS).

Fruquintinib is an oral selective targeted therapy that inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFRs) -1, -2 and -3. Inhibiting VEGFRs, which regulate the development of new blood vessels associated with tumour growth and cancer metastatis, can help block tumour angiogenesis.

The trial, FRESCO-2, was a multi-regional clinical study across 124 sites and 14 countries that investigated fruquintinib plus best supportive care (BSC) versus placebo plus BSC in 691 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who had not responded to other treatments and who had received a median of four prior lines of therapy.

The results showed that patients who received fruquintinib had a median survival rate of 7.4 months, compared to 4.8 months for patients who received the placebo, and PFS was 3.7 months compared to 1.8 months. At six months, 24% of patients receiving fruquintinib were progression-free, compared to 1% who received placebo.

Cathy Eng, MD, the David H Johnson professor of Surgical and Medical Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, commented, “The majority of stage IV patients will have surgically unresectable disease. Hence, we must continue to pursue new treatment options to extend the OS of our patients with quality of life. These findings from international FRESCO-2 validated the findings of the phase 3 FRESCO trial which was conducted only in China. Here we have a promising agent with overwhelming single agent activity. I look forward to the [US Food and Drug Administration] FDA approval as well as approvals from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency in Japan, so we can offer Fruquintinib to all metastatic colorectal cancer patients.”

James Spargo

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