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Varlitinib falls short in gastric cancer
March 2019
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SINGAPORE—Recent news from ASLAN Pharmaceuticals featured a disappointing update on its Phase 2 clinical study, which evaluated varlitinib as a first-line therapy in HER1/HER2 co-expressing advanced or metastatic gastric cancer patients, and compared varlitinib plus mFOLFOX6 to placebo plus mFOLFOX6. Varlitinib is an oral small-molecule pan-HER inhibitor that targets EGF receptors HER1, HER2 and HER4. The compound failed to meet the primary endpoint of significant reductions in tumor size following 12 weeks of treatment. Patients who received varlitinib plus mFOLFOX6 saw their tumors shrink an average of 22 percent after 12 weeks, compared to 12.5 percent for patients who received mFOLFOX6 alone, which was not statistically significant. The data did show that of the 17 cases of progression-free survival, there was tendency for an improvement in progression-free survival in patients treated with varlitinib.

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