GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s pazopanib pill for renal cell carcinoma showed similar efficacy to Pfizer Inc. (PFE:US)’s sunitinib with fewer side effects in a late-stage study.
For both drugs, on average, patients survived slightly more than 10 months without the disease progressing, according to a study of 1,100 patients. The study, dubbed COMPARZ and funded by London-based drugmaker Glaxo, was released today at the European Society for Medical Oncology meeting in Vienna.
Renal cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer that starts in the lining of tubes in the kidney. While both drugs resulted in side effects, some, such as fatigue and skin sores, occurred with less frequency for pazopanib than with sunitinib, which is marketed as Sutent, the researchers found.
“The side effects worse with sunitinib are the ones that really impact patients’ day-to-day living,” Robert Motzer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and one of the study authors, told reporters in Vienna today. “It’s a complicated situation, but in general, this trial tips the scale” toward pazopanib.
Glaxo shares rose 1 percent to 1,441 pence as of 11:19 a.m. in London.
Pazopanib was approved for use in the U.S. in 2009 for advanced renal cell carcinoma and is marketed as Votrient. The study began in August 2008, before the drug was approved.
An estimated 64,770 new cases of kidney cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, and about 13,570 people will die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Many patients don’t know they have cancer until it has reached an advanced stage because small tumors can’t be felt and aren’t easily detected.
“We anticipate that the COMPARZ data with Votrient will likely enable Glaxo to take market share from Pfizer’s Sutent in renal cancer,” Andrew Baum, an analyst for Citigroup Inc. in London, said in a note to investors last week.
Sutent had global sales of $1.2 billion in 2011.
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