Consultant medical oncologist Dr. Grant McArthur told a news briefing today (Wednesday 29 September) that a Phase II study by an international team has shown that the drug is active against a rare type of cancer called dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) a malignant tumour that occurs in the second layer of the skin (the dermis).
He said that complete control of the disease was achieved in eight out of 10 patients in a Phase II trial either through imatinib alone or imatinib plus surgery. The research team are preparing to present their findings to regulatory bodies for approval for imatinib's use as a treatment for unresectable DFSP when it exhibits a particular genetic profile.
The study, presented at the EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Geneva, was selected as a proffered paper by the scientific board of the EORTC-NCI-AACR and also won an award from the Fondation Nelia et Amadeo Barletta (FNAB), a foundation devoted to supporting worldwide translational research aimed at individualising therapeutics. The award is being presented today to Dr. McArthur, the lead researcher, by Professor Esteban Cvitkovic, president of the foundation's scientific board.
Dr McArthur, who is head of the Molecular Oncology and Translational Research Laboratories at the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, said that the decision to try imatinib in the treatment of DFSP arose from pioneering research from another team published in 1997 . This had shown that a gene called the platelet-derived growth factor receptor B (PDGFB) was re-arranged in DFSP, involving a translocation between chromosomes 17 and 22.
"It was intuitive to try imatinib in the disease because this translocation results in over expression of PDGFB and imatinib is an inhi
Contact: Margaret Willson
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer