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HER2 cancers respond well to new drug

Wednesday November 14th, 2018

People with cancers of the oesophagus, stomach and colon have experienced positive results from a new anti-HER2 drug, a European conference is being told today.

Updated results of the phase I USA clinical trial of ZW25, which focused on those and other cancers, will be presented today at the 30th EORTC-NCI-AACR [2] Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Dublin, Ireland.

Dr Murali Beeram, a medical oncologist and clinical investigator at the START Center for Cancer Care, San Antonio, Texas, USA, will tell delegates that she is excited by the findings.

While trastuzumab (Herceptin) is an effective treatment for stomach cancers that are driven by HER2, if the cancer returns there are no further approved HER2-targeted agents, the researchers say.

However, 24 patients, all with HER2 positive cancers have been given between one and ten cycles of ZW25 since joining the phase I trial, which started in September 2016.

Of these, the latest results in 17 patients with responses available show that 13 experienced a shrinkage of their tumour. The median time the patients survived without their disease progressing was 6.21 months.

Dr Beeram said: "As a clinician, I am excited by the single agent anti-tumour activity and tolerability we are seeing with ZW25, particularly in these patients with advanced HER2-expressing cancers that have progressed after multiple prior therapies, including HER2-targeted agents.

"In fact, trastuzumab is the only HER2-targeted therapy approved for gastric cancer and there are no approved HER2-targeted therapies for other types of cancer that are driven by the HER2 receptor. ZW25 has been well tolerated to date, which should allow it to be used in combination with other agents for potentially even better responses."

ZW25 is an antibody that can simultaneously bind two distinct regions of the HER2 receptor, a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells.

Zymeworks, the company that developed ZW25, has expanded the study and a phase II/III study for patients with oesophageal, gastric and other cancers is planned for next year.

Abstract no 6: "Single agent activity of ZW25, a HER2-targeted bispecific antibody, in HER2-expressing gastroesophageal and other cancers". Proffered papers, plenary session 2, Auditorium, 14.30 hrs, Wednesday 14 November 2018

Tags: Cancer | Europe | Gastroenterology | North America | Pharmaceuticals

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