Positive results from a Phase III clinical trial have shown that Pfizer’s Sutent (sunitinib malate) more than doubled the time patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours lived without disease progression.

Results of the trial showed median progression-free survival at 11.4 months in patients treated with sunitinib compared with just 5.5 months for patients treated in the placebo arm.

Pfizer’s Oncology Business Unit senior vice-president of clinical development Dr Mace Rothenberg said that this drug could fill an unmet patient need.

“This trial advances our understanding of the use of novel targeted therapies in a patient population with limited treatment options,” Rothenberg said.

The Phase III study findings served as the basis for the recent filings of supplemental applications for sunitinib in the treatment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours with regulatory authorities in the US, Europe and Canada.

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours are fairly rare and treatment options are limited for the disease, which affects only two to four people per million annually worldwide.