Health Canada Approves Cabometyx for Previously Treated Hepatocellular Carcinoma

According to a story from the Malvern Daily Record, the biotechnology company Exelixis, Inc. has recently announced that its partner company Ipsen BioPharmaceuticals Canada Inc. has had its drug cabozantinib (marketed as Cabometyx®) approved by Health Canada. The drug is now cleared for use as a treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma that have already received treatment with sorafenib. 

About Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma is a type of liver cancer. Although generally considered rare, at least in developed countries, it is the most common type of cancer to originate in the liver in adults and is also the most common cause of death for people who develop cirrhosis. Risk factors are generally any condition that can lead to long term liver damage and cirrhosis, such as certain genetic disorders, chronic hepatitis, type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and severe alcohol abuse. The cancer is associated with common symptoms of liver dysfunction and damage, such as jaundice, fatigue, abdominal swelling, nausea and vomiting, bruising easily, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Treatment may include kinase inhibitors, surgery, liver transplant, arterial catheters, and ablation. Survival rates are poor; cancer that cannot be removed with surgery is usually lethal within a year. To learn more about hepatocellular carcinoma, click here.

The Efficacy of Cabometyx

The approval of Cabometyx follows the results of a phase 3 clinical trial. The trial included a total of 760 patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma that already been treated with sorafenib. The study included patients from 19 countries and a total of 100 trial sites. Patients that received the drug were treated with a 60 mg dose once per day. In this trial, Cabometyx was able to provide a significant improvement in overall survival for these patients when compared to placebo. 

While hepatocellular carcinoma is generally uncommon, it is the fourth leading cause of cancer-linked deaths, which highlights the poor outcomes for treatment of this disease. There is an urgent need for more effective therapies for this type of cancer. Cabometyx has also been approved in the US for both hepatocellular carcinoma and renal cell carcinoma

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