More bad news in Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) campaign to broaden use of its kidney-cancer superstar Sutent. In a new study in lung cancer, Sutent failed to prolong patients' lives, though it did stall progression of the disease.
The trial looked at Sutent as an add-on therapy to Roche's Tarceva, comparing the two-drug regimen with Tarceva alone. The combo didn't extend patients' lives any longer than Tarceva did by itself. But, as SVP Mace Rothenberg says in a statement, Pfizer "believe[s] that the statistically significant improvement in progression free survival is an important finding."
In April, Pfizer halted a trial of Sutent in liver cancer. At the time, the company pledged to continue studying Sutent for other indications. With this trial, however, the company seems to think it might be able to use the data to identify particular patients that could benefit from Sutent treatment. "Over the next few months," Rothenberg explains, "we will conduct an in-depth analysis to...determine whether we can identify one or more subgroups of non-small cell lung cancer patients for a future trial in either previously untreated or recurrent disease."