Figitumumab has anti-tumor activity in Ewing's sarcoma, a cancer which affects mainly teenage boys

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Public release date: 23-Dec-2009

Contact: Dr. Johann S. de Bono


Figitumumab has anti-tumor activity in Ewing's sarcoma, a cancer which
affects mainly teenage boys

A preliminary study of the anticancer drug figitumumab has found that it has
antitumour activity in Ewing's sarcoma—a cancer which affects mainly teenage
boys. The results have led to the drug's progression to a Phase 2 trial in
patients with Ewing's sarcoma, which has recently finished recruiting. These are
the conclusions of an Article published Online First in the Lancet Oncology.
The study is by Dr Johann S de Bono, The Institute for Cancer Research (ICR),
Sutton, UK, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Sutton, UK, and

Ewing's sarcoma is a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone
or soft tissue, most commonly the pelvis, femur, humerus, and ribs. It occurs
most commonly it male teenagers with a male to female ratio of 1.6 to 1.

Data from preclinical studies have suggested that Ewing's sarcoma, and some
other sarcoma subtypes, are dependent on the insulin-like growth factor
signalling pathway. Figitumumab is a drug which targets the insulin-like
growth-factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R). This phase I study was carried out to assess
the effects of figitumumab in these sarcoma subtypes.

Between January, 2006, and August, 2008, patients with refractory, advanced
sarcomas received figitumumab (20 mg/kg) in two groups within a phase 1 trial.
The first cohort (15 patients) included patients with multiple sarcoma subtypes,
age 18 years or older, and the second cohort (14 patients) consisted of patients
with refractory Ewing's sarcoma, age nine years or older. The primary endpoint
was to assess the safety and tolerability of figitumumab.

Of the 29 patients that were enrolled, 16 had Ewing's sarcoma, and the 29
received a total of 177 cycles of treatment (median 2, mean 6, range 1

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