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Pfizer Ends Trial of Sutent in Liver Cancer

From Associated Press (April 23, 2010)

NEW YORK -- Pfizer Inc. said Thursday it stopped a late-stage clinical study of its drug Sutent as a treatment for liver cancer.

Pfizer said patients who were treated with Sutent were not surviving as long as patients who were treated with another drug, Bayer Healthcare’s and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Nexavar. Patients on Sutent were also more likely to suffer serious side effects, the company said.

The study was designed to measure if Sutent was more effective than Nexavar, or as effective, in treating the most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma. Pfizer said Sutent was not meeting either goal. It said the side effects were not new or unexpected.

In March, Pfizer said Sutent did not meet its main goals in two late-stage studies that tested it as a treatment for advanced breast cancer. Sutent, or sunitinib, is currently on the market as a treatment for advanced kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal cancer.

Pfizer said it is running late stage trials of Sutent as a treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer, advanced castration-resistant prostate cancer, and as an adjuvant treatment in kidney cancer.

In aftermarket trading, Pfizer shares lost 3 cents to $16.45. Onyx’s shares rose 71 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $29.20.

Posted: April 2010