WAYNE, N.J.—Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently announced that a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for Nexavar (sorafenib) tablets has been submitted to the FDA for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer. Nexavar is currently approved in more than 50 countries for the treatment of advanced kidney cancer. The companies also confirmed that they are planning a company-sponsored Phase III study of Nexavar in the adjuvant treatment of HCC following the complete removal of early-stage liver cancer.
The sNDA submission is based on positive data from the international, Phase III, placebo-controlled sorafenib HCC assessment randomized protocol (SHARP) trial which demonstrated that Nexavar extended overall survival by 44 percent in patients with HCC versus placebo. There were no significant differences in serious adverse event rates between the Nexavar and placebo-treated groups with the most commonly observed adverse events in patients receiving Nexavar being diarrhea and hand-foot skin reaction. Currently, there are no FDA-approved drug therapies that significantly extend survival of patients with liver cancer.
"These results are particularly meaningful considering that death rates from liver cancer continue to increase," said Dr. Susan Kelley, vice president, therapeutic area oncology, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. "After more than 100 clinical studies of many agents over three decades, Nexavar is the first drug therapy to demonstrate a significant survival benefit for patients with HCC, and, if approved, may fulfill a serious unmet need with a manageable toxicity profile."
HCC is responsible for about 90 percent of the primary liver cancers in adults. It is the fifth most common cancer in the world and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. More than 600,000 cases of HCC are diagnosed globally each year (about 19,000 in the United States and 32,000 in the European Union) and in 2002, approximately 600,000 people (about 13,000 Americans and 57,000 Europeans) died of HCC.