Chemotherapy drug shows "significant" improvement in melanoma patients in late-stage trial

Celgene announces results of phase-3 trial of Abraxane

BOUDRY, Switzerland — A Swiss subsidiary of drug maker Celgene Corp. said its chemotherapy drug produced "significant" improvement in progression-free survival in patients with a deadly skin cancer that had spread elsewhere in the body.

Celgene International Sarl announced the publication of abstracts from its phase-3 trial of Abraxane in melanoma patients in the journal of the Society for Melanoma Research, with plans to present the findings at an upcoming meeting of the organization. Abraxane is a formulation of the drug paclitaxel bound in the human protein albumin and free of solvents already approved for treating several other cancers.

"Metastatic melanoma presents significant treatment challenges due in part to limited therapies, low survival rates at diagnosis and no advances in chemotherapy in 37 years," University of Arizona professor of medicine and lead study investigator Evan Hersh said. "Despite advances with targeted treatment and immunotherapies, there is still a need for new agents, including chemotherapy treatments, for patients with metastatic melanoma."

The trial included patients with metastatic melanoma who had not received chemotherapy before, comparing them to patients receiving dacarbazine chemotherapy. Results of the trial indicate that Abraxane was more effective, Celgene said.

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