FDA Gives Early Approval of Life-Extending Colorectal Cancer Drug

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer for both men and women, and is often detected in the late stages. That’s why a new drug for the advanced treatment of the disease has everyone talking.

Approved by the FDA one month ahead of schedule, Stivarga is only the second FDA approved drug to treat patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

As the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., there is only one other drug available to treat the late stages of colorectal cancer. Both Zaltrap (also recently released) and Stivarga are for colorectal cancer patients who have already been treated for the disease, but had the cancer spread and metastasize to other parts of the body.

The Stivarga treatment specifically is a multi-kinase inhibitor that blocks specific enzymes that promote cancer growth. The drug is available earlier than scheduled by the FDA’s priority review program. The program expedites a six-month review for drugs that are “major advances” in treatment.

The FDA reviewed a study in which 760 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer were treated with Stivarga and a placebo. Patients on Stivarga had a two month delay of tumor growth and lived 6.4 months longer than those on a placebo that only lived five months.

Photo: thechart.blogs.cnn.com