Eisai drug derived from sea sponges shows sarcoma treatment promise

Japan's Eisai said a drug derived from sea sponges has been shown to extend survival for patients with sarcomas, marking a treatment breakthrough.

Halaven (eribulin) extended life spans by two months in a Phase III study of 452 patients with either leiomyosarcoma or adipocytic sarcoma. The company said in a press release it would present the data at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago on June 1.

The multicenter study was carried out by researchers in Belgium and funded by Eisai.

The study involved treating patients with eribulin or dacarbazine and showed eribulin-treated patients lived an average of 13.5 months, compared with 11.5 months for dacarbazine.

"This is the first and only randomized controlled trial of a single agent systemic therapy to demonstrate an improvement in overall survival in people previously treated for soft tissue sarcomas," Patrick Schöffski, head of the Department of General Medical Oncology at University Hospitals in Leuven, Belgium, said in a release.

- here's the Eisai release (PDF)
- and story from Reuters