New data sound death knell for atrasentan in prostate cancer

About a decade ago, Abbott Laboratories started to investigate the potential of a selective endothelin receptor antagonist called atrasentan or Xinlay™ for the treatment of advanced forms of prostate cancer.

A randomized Phase II trial initially suggested that atrasentan might be an effective form of treatment for hormone-refractory disease, but two later, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, Phase III clinical trials showed no efficacy of atrasentan monotherapy in the management of either metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) or non-metastatic, castration-resistant disease.

Despite these setbacks, Abbott Laboratories continued to explore whether atrasentan might be effective in combination with docetaxel (Taxotere) + prednisone in the treatment of mCRPC. Last Thursday, the Southwest Oncology Group announced the termination of even this randomized, double-blind Phase III clinical trial after an interim analysis had shown that the addition of atrasentan added no survival benefit to docetaxel + predisone. With the termination of this trial, there is now only one more significant study exploring the potential of any endothelin anatagonist in the treatment of late stage prostate cancer, and prospects for that trial do not look bright.

The current author acknowledges that a firm in which he is a part owner provided marketing communications services to Abbott Laboratories related to the development of atrasentan between 2001 and 2004.

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