AbbVie announced the initiation of a Phase III clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of its investigational compound, veliparib (ABT-888), when added to carboplatin and paclitaxel, two chemotherapeutic medicines, in patients with advanced breast cancer. Specifically, the combination of veliparib, carboplatin and paclitaxel will be compared to treatment with carboplatin, paclitaxel and placebo in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-(HER2) negative metastatic or locally-advanced breast cancer, containing BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 gene mutations.
“Our Phase III programme for veliparib represents an innovative approach to developing this type of anti-cancer compound. By adding veliparib to DNA-damaging therapies, such as carboplatin and paclitaxel, we can evaluate its potential to provide incremental benefit to existing treatments,” said Michael Severino, M.D., executive vice president, research and development and chief scientific officer, AbbVie. “This is the third Phase III trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of veliparib, and the second evaluating the addition of veliparib to chemotherapy for the treatment of patients with difficult-to-treat forms of breast cancer.”
The randomised, double-blind, Phase III clinical trial will recruit approximately 270 patients. The primary efficacy outcome of the trial is progression-free survival (PFS). The secondary pre-specified outcome measures include overall survival (OS), clinical benefit rate (CBR), objective response rate (ORR) and duration of response (DOR).
Veliparib is an investigational oral poly (adenosine diphosphate [ADP]–ribose) polymerases (PARP) inhibitor being evaluated in multiple tumour types. PARP is a naturally-occurring enzyme in the body that repairs damage to DNA, and in certain types of cancers, repairs cancer cells. Discovered and developed by AbbVie researchers, veliparib is being developed to help prevent DNA repair in cancer cells and increase the effectiveness of common DNA-damaging therapies like chemotherapy or radiation. Veliparib is currently being studied in more than a dozen cancers and tumour types, including Phase III studies in non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the world and the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide.1 The HER2 gene, which normally helps cells in the breast remain healthy and function normally, can play a role in the development of breast cancer. Specifically, in approximately 25 per cent of breast cancers, the HER2 gene does not work properly, causing cells in the breast to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. This process, known as HER2 gene amplification or over expression, results in HER2-positive breast cancer. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to grow faster, metastasize more quickly and are more likely to recur, compared to patients diagnosed with HER2-negative breast cancer.
It is estimated that at least five percent of breast cancer cases result from inherited mutations or alterations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer susceptibility genes. Women with these mutations have a 40- to 85-per cent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Additionally, men with BRCA2 mutations carry an increased risk of breast cancer.