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

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The Phase III clinical trial looks at the kinase inhibitor regorafenib, one of the new targeted therapies that are playing an increasing role in cancer treatment.

Thomas B. Julian, MD

"We are moving closer to the day when cancer is treated like a chronic illness such as high blood pressure or diabetes." - Thomas B. Julian, MD, AHN surgical oncologist and NSABP/NRG Oncology Principal Investigator

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 surgical 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.

About Allegheny Health Network
Allegheny Health Network is a western Pennsylvania-based integrated healthcare system that serves patients from across a five state region that includes Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The Network’s Cancer Institute offers a complete spectrum of oncology care, including access to state-of-the-art technologies and new therapies being explored in clinical cancer trials. The Network’s radiation oncology program is the largest in the country accredited by the American College of Radiology. AHN also has a formal affiliation with the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, one of the nation’s 41 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute, for research, medical education and clinical services.

To schedule an appointment with an AHN oncologist, please call 412.DOCTORS or visit http://www.ahn.org/find-a-doctor.

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Stephanie Waite