A new drug (AMG 386) designed to arrest ovarian cancer cell growth by inhibiting blood vessel formation is being readied for a phase 3 trial in Australia, Canada and Europe.
The attendees at the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting were told on November 10th that AMG 386 offers benefits over existing treatments, extending survival in advanced ovarian cancer patients with fewer side-effects.
AMG 386 is a first-in-class investigational “peptibody” (i.e., a combination of a peptide + an antibody) that is designed to block angiogenesis by inhibiting angiopoietin-1 and -2 (Ang1 & Ang2). Angiopoietins interact with the Tie2 receptor, which mediates vascular remodeling. Ang1 and Ang2 are thought to play opposing roles, and the maturation of blood vessels appears to be controlled by their precise balance.
Associate Professor of Medicine at Monash University, Gary Richardson, presented updated data from phase 2 clinical trials (first reported in June at the American Society of Clinical Oncology) showing that AMG 386 in combination with paclitaxel not only extends survival, but is well tolerated and reduces the risk of serious complications such as bowel perforation.
“Currently the prognosis for ovarian cancer patients is poor,” Professor Richardson said. “Over 75% of patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer present with advanced disease. Current treatments will cure only about a quarter of these patients.”
“The phase 2 trials show that AMG 386 combined with paclitaxel extends survival of heavily pre-treated patients by almost two thirds (4.6 to 7.2 months). In practical terms, this does not add significantly to survival time for terminal patients, but importantly indicates real potential as a first line treatment immediately following surgery.”
Professor Richardson said the treatment worked by inhibiting angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels grow from existing blood vessels. “By starving the cancer cells of blood supply, they will die in greater numbers. This form of therapy is complementary to current chemotherapy treatment as it uses a different mechanism to target the cancer.”
Professor Richardson said the phase 3 trial would commence by the end of this year and involve more than 1,000 patients in Australia, Canada and western Europe.
Clinical Oncological Society of Australia President, Professor Bruce Mann, said clinicians had been frustrated by the lack of progress in treatment for ovarian cancer. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but novel approaches like this have the potential to make a real difference in patient survival from this devastating disease.”
- Ovarian cancer drug shows promise with move to phase 3 trial, Press Release, Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, November 10, 2010.
- Karlan B. Y., Oza A. M., Hansen V. L. et. al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II study of AMG 386 combined with weekly paclitaxel in patients (pts) with recurrent ovarian carcinoma. J Clin Oncol 28:15s, 2010 (suppl; abstr 5000).
- New AMG 386 Data Demonstrate Promising Antitumor Activity in Patients With Recurrent Ovarian Cancer, Press Release, Amgen, June 6, 2010.
- A list of open ovarian cancer clinical trials involving AMG 386.