Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Posts from the ‘Prostate Cancer’ category

It’s not often that you wake up to really exciting news in the cancer field, but that’s what happened this morning with Medivation’s announcement on the interim analysis of their androgen receptor (AR) antagonist, MDV3100:

“As reported by the IDMC, MDV3100 produced a 4.8-month advantage in median overall survival compared to placebo.

The estimated median survival for men treated with MDV3100 was 18.4 months compared with 13.6 months for men treated with placebo. MDV3100 provided a 37 percent reduction in risk of death compared to placebo (Hazard Ratio=0.631).


Last week brought the first anniversary of this blog since moving to WordPress as a platform, but as luck would have it, I was snowed under with more work than usual.

Several people have asked about the stats here recently, so it seems a good time as any to do an annual review. Although this blog has been up and running since 2006, it only started on WP on October 24th 2010.

In the last twelve months, PSB has seen the following activity:

  • 614K reads, with around 50-60K reads per month
  • 337K visitors, approx. 30K visitors per month

This year I decided to write some longer posts from the ECCO/EMCC meeting owing to the amount of potentially paradigm changing data coming out. These in depth op eds will roll out over the next few days.

Quite a few people have been asking what my picks of the conference are, so here goes, in order of Wow factor (purely from my perspective):

  1. Everolimus BOLERO-2 data in ER/PR+ HER2- breast cancer
  2. Alpharadin in advanced prostate cancer
  3. T-DM1 in HER2+ breast cancer
  4. Vismodegib phase III data in basal cell carcinoma

After a wild day yesterday once we realised Continental had mysteriously and unaccountably changed our flights to Stockholm from Weds to Weds to Thurs to Tues, it seems that Cinderella will be going to the ball after all.

European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference (EMCC) here we come, whew!

There are a couple of sessions I’m particularly looking forward to this year:

    1. Presidential Symposium on Sat 25th with talks from some of the leading lights in translational research:
      • Tak Mak (U Toronto) on metabolism and cancer
      • Jose Baselga (MGH) on the challenges of personalised medicine

I’ve been following the development of Oncogenex’s custirsen for a while based on various posters presented at meetings such as ASCO and AUA, but with the publication of phase II data in prostate cancer, it seems a good time to discuss the compound in more detail.

According to Oncogenex:

“OGX-011, also known as custirsen sodium, inhibits the production of clusterin, a protein that is associated with treatment resistance in a number of solid tumors, including prostate, breast, non-small cell lung, ovarian, and bladder cancers.”


Prostate cancer is very much in the news this morning, not all for good reasons though.

Dendreon’s Provenge launch to community oncologists did not go well

Dendreon’s stock is in free fall after the company missed it’s earnings and revenue expectations rather badly yesterday.  Adam Feuerstein of The Street has a nice overview of the 2Q earnings call for those of you interested.

There are a couple of things that come to mind though:

  1. The reimbursement may well have a broader impact on the landscape than many realise – CMS may pay for a drug or vaccine, but it doesn’t always pay for the surrounding expenses associated with it*
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“Fully 71% of online Americans use video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, up from 66% a year earlier. The use of video-sharing sites on any given day also jumped five percentage points, from 23% of online Americans in May 2010 to 28% in May 2011.”

Pew Internet (2011)

This is a trend I’ve also noticed amongst my friends over the past year, largely driven by more of them using smartphones and iPads, which make sharing and watching video a whole lot easier.

At the annual American Urological Association (AUA) meeting this week in Washington DC, Dr Matthew Smith from Mass General Hospital presented updated data from the phase III 147 trial comparing denosumab to placebo in managing skeletal related events (SREs) and bone metastases-free survival.   Skeletal complications are a major cause of prostate cancer morbidity.

The results were somewhat controversial, however, because while surrogate measures such as delaying time to SREs clearly show a benefit in favour of denosumab, no difference in overall survival was seen over placebo.

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A little over ten years ago, I lost my Father to metastatic prostate cancer, a brave fight that lasted only a few years since he was diagnosed with stage IV disease.   In many ways though, it was a bittersweet moment because while it’s always heartbreaking to lose a parent, it was also a blessing that he was spared of any further pain.   In those days, the only bisphosphonates available in the UK were pamidronate (Aredia) and the awful clodronate.   The urologist managing my Father had no clue about either, so he suffered in silence instead.


After attending numerous basic research and clinical updates at the American Urologic Association (AUA) annual meeting in Washington DC, it is clear that the new and emerging therapies are not going to stop at the three grand crus from 2010.

Recently, abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) was approved, but there are a number of critical issues that need to considered, including:

  1. Sequencing
  2. Combinations
  3. Cost
  4. Patient selection

As we learn more about the molecular mechanisms behind resistance to androgen receptor signaling (up and downstream) and new targets emerge, so it may be possible to improve patient outcomes in castration-resitant prostate cancer.

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