European Commission Approves Amgen's Vectibix® (panitumumab) As First-Line Treatment In Combination With FOLFIRI Chemotherapy For Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Important Step Towards Increasing Treatment Options for Patients With This Serious Disease

Apr 06, 2015, 05:00 ET from Amgen

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., April 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) today announced that the European Commission approved a new use of Vectibix® (panitumumab) as first-line treatment in combination with FOLFIRI for the treatment of adult patients with wild-type (WT) RAS metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). About half of the patients with mCRC have WT RAS tumors.1  FOLFIRI, an irinotecan-based chemotherapy regimen, is frequently used in first-line colorectal cancer treatment in Europe.

"Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in Europe, and additional treatment options are important for patients and for physicians treating this serious disease," said Elliott M. Levy, M.D., senior vice president of Global Development at Amgen. "The European Commission approval of Vectibix as a first-line treatment in combination with FOLFIRI chemotherapy means physicians have another treatment option for adult patients with wild-type RAS metastatic colorectal cancer."

The new indication is based upon studies that evaluated Vectibix plus FOLFIRI in the first-line setting. Vectibix is now approved in the European Union (EU) for the treatment of adult patients with WT RAS mCRC: in first-line in combination with FOLFOX or FOLFIRI; in second-line in combination with FOLFIRI for patients who have received first-line fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy (excluding irinotecan); and as monotherapy after failure of fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-containing chemotherapy regimens.1

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, with approximately 1.2 million cases expected to occur globally.2,3 Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in Europe, with approximately 470,000 new cases each year;4 the highest incidence rate of colorectal cancer in the world. It is also the second greatest cause of cancer death in Europe following lung cancer, accounting for 12 percent of all cancer deaths.3

About Vectibix® (panitumumab)
In the EU, Vectibix is currently indicated for the treatment of adult patients with wild-type RAS mCRC:

  • in first-line in combination with FOLFOX and FOLFIRI.
  • in second-line in combination with FOLFIRI for patients who have received first-line fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy (excluding irinotecan).
  • as monotherapy after failure of fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-containing chemotherapy regimens.

Important EU Product Safety Information
Dermatologic related reactions, a pharmacologic effect observed with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr) inhibitors, are experienced with nearly all patients (approximately 90 percent) treated with Vectibix. The majority of dermatological reactions are mild to moderate in nature. In clinical studies, subsequent to the development of severe dermatological reactions (including stomatitis), infectious complications including sepsis, in rare cases leading to death, and local abscesses requiring incisions and drainage were reported. Patients who have severe dermatologic reactions or who develop worsening reactions whilst receiving Vectibix should be monitored for the development of inflammatory or infectious sequelae, and appropriate treatment promptly initiated.

Important U.S. Product Information
Vectibix is indicated for the treatment of patients with wild-type KRAS (exon 2 in codons 12 or 13) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) as determined by an FDA-approved test for this use:

  • As first-line therapy in combination with FOLFOX
  • As monotherapy following disease progression after prior treatment with fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-containing chemotherapy

Limitation of Use: Vectibix is not indicated for the treatment of patients with RAS-mutant mCRC or for whom RAS mutation status is unknown.

Dermatologic Toxicity: Dermatologic toxicities occurred in 90 percent of patients and were severe (NCI-CTC grade 3 or higher) in 15% of patients receiving Vectibix monotherapy.

Vectibix is not indicated for the treatment of patients with colorectal cancer that harbor somatic mutations in exon 2 (codons 12 and 13), exon 3 (codons 59 and 61), and exon 4 (codons 117 and 146) of either KRAS or NRAS and hereafter is referred to as "RAS".

Retrospective subset analyses across several randomized clinical trials were conducted to investigate the role of RAS mutations on the clinical effects of anti-EGFR-directed monoclonal antibodies (panitumumab or cetuximab). Anti-EGFR antibodies in patients with tumors containing RAS mutations resulted in exposing those patients to anti-EGFR related adverse reactions without clinical benefit from these agents.

Additionally, in Study 3, 272 patients with RAS-mutant mCRC tumors received Vectibix in combination with FOLFOX and 276 patients received FOLFOX alone. In an exploratory subgroup analysis, OS was shorter (HR = 1.21, 95% CI 1.01-1.45) in patients with RAS-mutant mCRC who received Vectibix and FOLFOX versus FOLFOX alone.

Progressively decreasing serum magnesium levels leading to severe (Grade 3-4) hypomagnesemia occurred in up to 7% (in Study 2) of patients across clinical trials. Monitor patients for hypomagnesemia and hypocalcemia prior to initiating Vectibix treatment, periodically during Vectibix treatment, and for up to 8 weeks after the completion of treatment.

In Study 1, 4% of patients experienced infusion reactions and 1% of patients experienced severe infusion reactions (NCI-CTC grade 3-4).

Severe diarrhea and dehydration, leading to acute renal failure and other complications, have been observed in patients treated with Vectibix in combination with chemotherapy.

Fatal and non-fatal cases of interstitial lung disease (ILD) (1%) and pulmonary fibrosis have been observed in patients treated with Vectibix. Pulmonary fibrosis occurred in less than 1% (2/1467) of patients enrolled in clinical studies of Vectibix. In the event of acute onset or worsening of pulmonary symptoms, interrupt Vectibix therapy. Discontinue Vectibix therapy if ILD is confirmed.

Adverse Reactions
The most common adverse reactions (> 20%) of Vectibix are skin rash with variable presentations, paronychia, fatigue, nausea and diarrhea. The most frequently reported adverse reactions for Vectibix leading to withdrawal were general physical health deterioration and intestinal obstruction.

The most commonly reported adverse reactions (≥ 20%) in patients with wild-type KRAS mCRC receiving Vectibix (6 mg/kg every 2 weeks) and FOLFOX therapy (N = 322) in Study 3 were diarrhea, stomatitis, mucosal inflammation, asthenia, paronychia, anorexia, hypomagnesemia, hypokalemia, rash, acneiform dermatitis, pruritus, and dry skin.  Serious adverse reactions (≥ 2% difference between treatment arms) in Vectibix-treated patients with wild-type KRAS mCRC were diarrhea and dehydration.

To see the full Vectibix Safety Information, visit

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Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.

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1   European Medicines Agency. Vectibix. Accessed April 2, 2015.
2   Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11. Accessed February 24, 2015.
3   WHO, IARC GLOBOCAN, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide in 2008 at Accessed April 2, 2015.
4   EuropaColon. Accessed April 2, 2015.


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