Amgen has announced that Vectibix (panitumumab), its drug for metastatic squamous cell head and neck cancer, did not meet its primary endpoint of improving overall survival in a Phase III trial.

However, the drug did meet its secondary endpoints of progression-free survival and objective response rate, which were numerically improved.

The randomised trial involved 658 patients, who each received standard platinum-based chemotherapy (cisplatin and 5-FU), with or without Vectibix (9mg/kg) every three weeks.

Platinum-based chemotherapy with Vectibix did not result in a significant improvement in overall survival compared to chemotherapy alone (median 11.1 months versus nine months).

Secondary endpoints of objective response rate (36% versus 25%) and progression-free survival (median 5.8 months versus 4.6 months) were numerically improved.

Roger M Perlmutter, executive vice-president of research and development at Amgen, said the outcome was disappointing.

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”However, Vectibix remains an important monotherapy treatment option for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer whose disease has progressed on other therapies,” Perlmutter said.