Oncologists Call For More Effective Colon Cancer Drugs

25 March 2010 (Last Updated March 25th, 2010 18:30)

Results from a poll of leading US oncologists have revealed high demand for a new therapy that will improve disease-free survival over and above standard treatment regimens for patients with colon cancer. According to the new report by Decision Resources, a new therapy that improves dis

Results from a poll of leading US oncologists have revealed high demand for a new therapy that will improve disease-free survival over and above standard treatment regimens for patients with colon cancer.

According to the new report by Decision Resources, a new therapy that improves disease-free survival over the standard regimen known as FOLFOX4 for the treatment of stage III colon cancer would earn a 55% patient share in the US.

In Europe, such an agent would earn a 50% patient share, according to the report.

Clinical data and the opinions of interviewed experts indicated that no emerging therapies have an advantage over the sales-leading regimen of FOLFOX4, a regimen made up of oxaliplatin, leucovorin and 5-fluorouracil.

Of the most promising treatments, Bristol-Myers Squibb/Eli Lilly/ImClone Systems/Merck KGaA's Erbitux and Amgen's Vectibix are expected to have competitive advantages related to improved disease-free survival; however, the increased toxicity burden, when used in addition to FOLFOX4, is a barrier to widespread use.

Decision Resources analyst Natalia Reoutova said that surveyed oncologists weighted efficacy as the most important consideration in their prescribing decisions.

"Although Erbitux and Vectibix are likely to improve disease-free survival in a subset of patients, they will do so at the cost of substantially inferior safety and tolerability," Reoutova said.