Pfizer: Cancer drug narrowly misses study goal

NEW YORK (AP) — Pfizer Inc.'s advanced kidney cancer treatment Inlyta missed its main late-stage study goal when compared to another drug in patients who had not been treated for the disease.

The New York drugmaker said Wednesday that patients taking Inlyta had a median progression-free survival that exceeded that of patients taking the drug sorafenib, but the difference was not statistically significant. Progression-free survival measures the time from the start of treatment until a patient's cancer begins advancing again or the patient dies.

A Pfizer official said in a statement the drug narrowly missed the goal, and the company would analyze the findings to figure out whether it should study Inlyta in subpopulations of so-called treatment-naive patients.

Inlyta, known chemically as axitinib, is a pill that's part of a promising new generation of targeted cancer drugs from Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker. It targets proteins that affect the growth and spread of tumors and the development of new blood vessels to feed those tumors.

It has already received approval in Europe, the United States and several other countries to treat adult patients with renal cell carcinoma who have been treated unsuccessfully with other drugs.

Renal cell carcinoma is the sixth-leading cause of cancer deaths. About a third of patients are not diagnosed until the cancer has spread to multiple body parts, limiting chances of survival.

Pfizer shares rose 5 cents to $25.85 in premarket trading Wednesday.