Regeneron Drug 'Zaltrap' Prolongs Colorectal Cancer Survival
Regeneron and Sanofi Pharmaceuticals announced in a news release today that the experimental drug Zaltrap may slightly slow the progression of advanced colorectal cancer and prolong the survival of patients when used in a chemotherapy regimen.
The add-on therapy does not dramatically change the outcome of the cancer, but the median survival period among patients who took Zaltrap was 13.5 months, compared with 12.1 months for those who took a placebo.
The study's abstract was published in a supplement to the June 2011 issue of the Annals of Oncology. It will be presented at a conference this month.
1,226 patients on chemotherapy participated in the study. All the patients had metastic colorectal cancer, meaning the disease had spread beyond the initial site.
While their survival time was extended, adverse side effects of therapy-- such as diarrhea, fatigue, ulcers and high blood pressure-- we more common among those taking Zaltrap.
The LA Times reports that those with metastatic colorectal cancer usually can't be cured, and chemotherapy is the best option to try to prolong life.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in males worldwide, and the second most in females. According to the news release, over 1.2 million new cases were diagnosed in 2008.
It is one of the deadliest cancers, with a U.S. survival rate of 62 percent, although that number drops considerably when the cancer spreads.
In the U.S., over 90 percent of cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 50.