Pfizer halts Sutent breast-cancer trial

Typically, Big Pharma doesn't wait till after the markets close to announce news unless that news isn't so welcome--and yesterday's after-four o'clock release was no exception. Pfizer decided to pull the plug on a study of Sutent in advanced breast cancer. Already approved for kidney cancer treatment, the drug is under study as a therapy for several other cancers.

The halted study had been evaluating Sutent plus the chemotherapy paclitaxel, as compared with bevacizumab plus paclitaxel, as a treatment for advanced breast cancer. An independent committee monitoring the trial decided that Sutent didn't offer better survival rates than the other drug did, so Pfizer stopped the trial altogether.

"While we are disappointed that this trial did not meet its primary endpoint, we are continuing to study sunitinib in different breast cancer populations and with different regimens," said Dr. Mace Rothenberg, SVP at Pfizer's oncology. "Pfizer remains committed to evaluating sunitinib in advanced breast cancer through its two other Phase 3 clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of Sutent in combination with standard of care chemotherapies." The drugmaker also is checking out Sutent as a treatment for lung cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer and prostate cancer.

- read the Pfizer release
- see the story in The Day