Pfizer halts Sutent testing for liver cancer

Pfizer's bid for broader use of its cancer drug Sutent has hit another wall. The company stopped a late-stage trial of the drug as a treatment for liver cancer, saying that it wasn't as effective as Bayer's Nexavar in this indication. In addition, patients on Sutent were more likely to suffer serious side effects.

The company calls the trial's outcome disappointing and says the result "does not diminish our confidence in Sutent for the treatment of patients" with kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. "We ... are working with investigators to better understand these trial results and their implications for clinical practice," SVP Mace Rothenberg says in a statement. 

This is Pfizer's second setback on Sutent in as many months. The company said in March that Sutent didn't perform against advanced breast cancer as well as it had hoped. Pfizer is continuing to test Sutent against other cancer types, including non-small cell lung cancer and prostate cancer.

- see the Pfizer press release
- check out the Reuters story