Ramucirumab Slightly Ups Survival in Colorectal Cancer


The angiogenesis inhibitor ramucirumab (Cyramza®) improves survival when added to the standard chemotherapy regimen for recurrent, advanced colorectal cancers. These results were recently presented at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology gastrointestinal (ASCO GI) symposium.

Angiogenesis agents refer to drugs that inhibit the formation of blood vessels to cancer cells. Because cancer cells rely on the flow of blood for oxygen and nutrients, the angiogenesis agents often slow growth or reduce spread of certain types of cancer.

An international phase III clinical trial was recently conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the angiogenesis inhibitor, ramucirumab, when added to standard chemotherapy for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer that has recurred following prior therapy. Ramucirumab is currently approved for the treatment of gastric (stomach) or gastroesophageal junction cancers.

The trial included 1,072 patients who were treated with either ramucirumab plus the chemotherapy regimen referred to as FOLFIRI (5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and irinotecan), or FOLFIRI only. Patienst had advanced colorectal cancer and had received one prior treatment for their cancer.

Median overall survival was 13.3 months for patients treated with ramucirumab plus FOLFIRI, compared with 11.7 months for those treated with FOLFIRI only.
Researchers will continue to evaluate different treatment regimens including new angiogenesis inhibitors to provide optimal outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer.

Reference: Tabernero J, Cohn A, Obermannova R, et al. RAISE: A randomized, double-blind, multicenter phase III study of irinotecan, folinic acid, and 5-fluorouracil (FOLFIRI) plus ramucirumab (RAM) or placebo (PBO) in patients (pts) with metastatic colorectal carcinoma (CRC) progressive during or following first-line combination therapy with bevacizumab (bev), oxaliplatin (ox), and a fluoropyrimidine (fp). Proceedings from the 2015 ASCO GI symposium. Abstract #512.