CAPRELSA (vandetanib) has received a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) for the treatment of aggressive and symptomatic medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) in patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic disease.
The proposed indication also states that for patients in whom Rearranged during Transfection (RET) mutation is not known or is negative, a possible lower benefit should be taken into account before individual treatment decisions.
The opinion was reached after the CHMP reviewed data from the Phase III CAPRELSA clinical trial programme, including the ZETA study.
This study, a double-blind trial of 331 patients with advanced MTC that has progressed and spread to other parts of the body, showed a 54% reduction in risk for disease progression compared to placebo.
In Europe, thyroid cancer affects approximately 48,000 people annually with an estimated mortality rate of 6,300, of which 5–10% have medullary thyroid cancer.
Advanced MTC has a poor prognosis and clinical outcomes for patients with this disease have not changed substantially in the past 20 years.
Currently there are no approved therapies in Europe for this advanced stage of the disease.
The CHMP positive opinion for CAPRELSA will now be reviewed by the European Commission, which has the authority to approve medicines for use in the European Union.
CAPRELSA was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in April 2011 and is also under review in Canada and Switzerland.
CAPRELSA is an oral kinase inhibitor using two distinctive mechanisms of action – blocking the blood supply to the tumour by slowing the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor) pathway and reducing the growth and survival of the tumour through EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) and RET (rearranged during transfection) pathways.