A tough setback for AZ as major eye cancer hopeful flunks phase III
- AstraZeneca licensed selumetinib from Array Biopharma in 2003.
- At one point, this drug was hailed as a potential blockbuster based on strong mid-stage survival data.
- But in a phase III trial, selumetinib failed to significantly prolong survival in patients with metastatic melanoma that has spread to the eye.
In 2013, AstraZeneca (AZ) presented promising mid-stage data on selumetinib in which the drug more than doubled progression-free survival (PFS) in uveal melanoma patients, from seven weeks to 15.9 weeks. The level of optimism was so great that many thought that selumetinib would be become the first drug approved for treatment of uveal melanoma.
However, in a recent 152-patient phase III trial, combo therapy with selumetinib and standard chemotherapy failed to improve PFS compared with standard chemotherapy.
Nonetheless, throughout the years, selumetinib has been tested for treatment of other types of cancer, and shown some promise. AZ is still focused on evaluating selumetinib's potential for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), thyroid cancer and neurofibramatosis.