The results of a novel treatment for gastric cancer with the investigational antibody IMAB362 were released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) this week. IMAB362 led to extended remissions and prolonged survival for patients with advanced gastric cancers.
Gastric cancer refers to cancer of the stomach. The American Cancer Society estimates that 24,590 Americans will be diagnosed with gastric cancer and an estimated 10,720 Americans are expected to die from the disease in 2015. The relative five-year survival rate for all stages combined is approximately 28%. Though gastric cancer has a relatively low incidence in the United States, it is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The incidence of gastric cancer is quite high in Asian countries such as Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan. Treatment of gastric cancer typically involves surgical removal of the cancer followed by the use of chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy.
IMAB362 is an antibody that targets claudin 18.2 which is abundant in gastric tumors. The claudin 18.2 molecule plays a role in cell adhesion and intercellular communication. When the antibody binds to gastric cancer cells expressing the molecule, it causes an immune mediated antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity and complement-dependent cytotoxicity and kills the cells.
In the current clinical trial, patients were treated with a standard chemotherapy regimen of Ellence (epirubicin), Eloxatin (oxaliplatin), and Xeloda (capecitabine), with or without IMAB362 and directly compared.
Among all patients, the investigators found the average time to cancer progression was 4.8 months for patients treated only with chemotherapy and this was increased to 7.9 months for those receiving chemotherapy plus IMAB362. Overall survival was improved from 8.4 months to 13.2 months and among patients with high expression of claudin 18.2, average survival approached 18 months.
The antibody regimen was generally as well tolerated as the standard chemotherapy treatment.
Reference: Al-Batran S, Schuler M, Zvirbule Z, et al. An international, multicenter, randomized, phase II trial of epirubicin, oxaliplatin, and capecitabine (EOX) with or without IMAB362, a first-in-class anti-CLDN18.2 antibody, as first-line therapy in patients with advanced CLDN18.2+ gastric and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma. J Clin Oncol 34, 2016 (suppl; abstr LBA4001)
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