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Allegheny Health Network Clinical Trial Examines Kinase Inhibitor Regorafenib as Maintenance Therapy for Colon Cancer

Friday, April 7, 2017

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Allegheny Health Network (AHN) researchers have launched an NSABP Foundation  Phase III clinical trial investigating whether the kinase inhibitor regorafenib can serve as an effective maintenance therapy for certain colon cancer patients who have finished treatment.

Kinase inhibitors, targeted therapies that are playing an increasing role in cancer treatment, work by stopping the growth of cancer cells, inhibiting or blocking proteins that help cancer cells grow and spread.

This clinical trial looks at the value of the oral medicine regorafenib in extending disease-free survival (the time period before a cancer might return) for patients with Stage III (locally advanced) colon cancer who have completed surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy.

“We are moving closer to the day when cancer is treated like a chronic illness such as high blood pressure or diabetes,” said Thomas Julian, MD, AHN oncologist, and NSABP/NRG Oncology Principal Investigator. “Medicines that work to prevent a cancer’s return post-treatment are available for some cancers, but not so for colon cancer. The testing and approval of regorafenib as maintenance therapy would mark a huge step forward in preventing recurrence in colon cancer survivors.”

Patients will be randomized to two groups, one receiving regorafenib and one receiving the current standard of care for two years. In addition to measuring disease-free survival, the trial will also measure toxicity and overall survival time for participants.

Globally, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer, making up about 10 percent of all cases. While in general older adults are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, a recent study found that colon and rectal cancer rates are increasing sharply among people younger than age 50, while decreasing among people older than age 50.

The trial is open to patients with Stage III B or C colon cancer that has been treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. For more information, call the AHN Protocol Office at 412-359-8420.