Cell Therapeutics Lymphoma Drug Boosts Remissions, Shares Boom

6/1/09Follow @xconomy

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in that pixantrone could extend our ability to use a highly active anthracycline-like drug in such patients and deserves to be examined in anthracycline naive patients as a potential alternative to currently available standard anthracycline drugs.”

Some of the data presented at the ASCO meeting was already publicized in a November press release, and some was new. The trial, called Extend, found that 20 percent of patients randomly assigned to pixantrone were put into complete remission, compared with 5.7 percent who did that well in the control group. More than one-third of patients (37 percent) had their tumors shrink in the pixantrone group, compared with 14 percent in control group.

Patients who enrolled in this study were quite sick from the get-go, with half of them having their disease worsen after three prior rounds of chemotherapy, researchers said. More than 70 percent were considered to be at intermediate to high-risk status when graded by an International Prognostic score.

Patients in the pixantrone group had higher rates of white blood depletion, known as neutropenia, with 41 percent reporting a severe case of that effect on the drug, compared with 19 percent in the control group. A more severe form of that condition, febrile neutropenia, was found in 7.4 percent of pixantrone patients, compared with 3 percent in the comparison group. As we reported previously, there were also more cases of severe cardiac disorders in the group who got pixantrone—8.8 percent on the drug, compared with 4.5 percent in the control group.

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