Celgene International Sàrl, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG), has announced that the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA): Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has adopted a positive opinion for ABRAXANE (paclitaxel formulated as albumin bound nanoparticles, or nab-paclitaxel) in combination with gemcitabine for first-line treatment of adult patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.
The CHMP reviews applications for all 28 member states in the European Union (EU), as well as Norway and Iceland. The European Commission, which generally follows the recommendation of the CHMP, is expected to make its final decision within two to three months.
The pancreas is composed of two main cell types: exocrine and endocrine. Adenocarcinoma is a sub-type of exocrine tumours and accounts for about 95% of cancers of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the EU for men and women.(1) Death rates from the disease are predicted to rise from 7.85 in 2009 to 8.01 in 2013 per 100,000 among men, and from 5.33 to 5.54 per 100,000 among women in same period.(1) In fact, the pancreas is the only major cancer site for which no improvements in mortality rates is predicated for either sex.(1) There have been no new treatments approved for pancreatic cancer in nearly seven years.
“The positive CHMP opinion on ABRAXANE with gemcitabine for metastatic pancreatic cancer is a significant step toward bringing the first new treatment option in many years to people diagnosed with this deadly disease, which has seen multiple clinical trial failures over the years,” said Alan Colowick, MD, President of Celgene Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “Following a positive decision by the European Commission within the next few months, we hope to begin the important work of helping physicians and patients gain access to ABRAXANE plus gemcitabine, which has demonstrated statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in overall survival compared to gemcitabine alone, as reported recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.”
The CHMP positive opinion was based on the results of the MPACT (Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Clinical Trial), an open-label, phase III, randomised, international study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in its 16 October 2013 e-publication. The MPACT study involved 861 chemotherapy-naïve patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer at 151 community and academic centres from 11 countries, including North America, Eastern and Western Europe and Australia. In the study, nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in median overall survival compared to gemcitabine alone (8.5 vs. 6.7 months) (HR 0.72, P<0.0001); a 28% overall reduction in risk of death.(2)
Grade 3 and higher adverse events that were reported more often with nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine versus gemcitabine alone were neutropenia, leukopenia, fatigue, and peripheral neuropathy.(2)
- Malvezzi M et al., Annals of Oncology 2013, 1-9
- Von Hoff DD, et al. N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1691-1703