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ESMO: SU5416 Showing Promise in Controlling, Shrinking Colorectal Cancer Tumors


HAMBURG, GERMANY -- October 13, 2000 -- Results from clinical studies of SU5416, an angiogenesis signaling inhibitor, in the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer were presented during a symposium held as part of the biennial congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology.

The data show that SU5416 works by inhibiting angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. In cancer, angiogenesis is the process by which tumors create their own blood supply to provide nutrients and oxygen essential for their growth.

In a Phase I/II study of 27 evaluable patients treated with SU5416 in combination with 5-FU/leucovorin, 37 percent of patients had a complete or partial response to treatment as patients' tumors were reduced by greater than 50 percent of their original size. Forty-four percent of patients had stable disease, meaning tumors were unchanged having neither grown nor reduced in size. Only seven percent of patients showed no response to the treatment. Among this group of patients with previously untreated advanced cancer, tumor growth and spread was delayed for a median of 9.0 months. Twenty-one of the 27 patients are still alive, so median survival data is unavailable.

"Our studies suggest that SU5416 may make a significant difference for patients with colorectal cancer," said Lee Rosen, M.D., Assistant Professor, Director of Cancer Therapy Development Program, UCLA Medical Center. "New trials are being initiated across Europe that will allow the European oncology community and patients to participate in the progress of this exciting therapy."

Trial sites throughout Europe are being enlisted to continue research of SU5416 in advanced colorectal cancer. SU5416 is also currently being studied in the US and Germany for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Oral forms of SU5416 are now being evaluated.

SU5416, a synthetic small molecule inhibitor, is novel because it blocks a protein called the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGF-R). By blocking the VEGF-R, SU5416 could block the ability of tumors to form blood vessels, thus starving tumors to slow or halt their growth.