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Positive results for Gleevec in GIST trial


Preliminary results from the GIST trial indicate that Novartis’ Gleevec® (imatinib) can help reduce the risk of stomach cancer recurrence by up to 70%.

Interim findings from a study of more than 600 patients revealed that 97% of patients with Kit-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) who received Gleevec for a year after surgery remained cancer-free, compared with 83% of those on placebo. Novartis has confirmed that patients who received placebo will now be offered Gleevec.

The drug was first approved in 2001 for chronic myeloid leukaemia. Diane Young, head of global medical affairs at Novartis Oncology, said: “We will now work with investigators on a submission to gain regulatory approval for Gleevec in the adjuvant treatment for GIST.”

The results may change the way this type of cancer is treated. Dr Ronald DeMatteo, of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, commented: “Conventional chemotherapy agents have been notoriously ineffective in GIST. This study for the first time demonstrated that targeted molecular therapy reduces the rate of recurrence after complete removal of a primary GIST.”

Pharma Times 16/04/2007


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