Pfizer Inc. said a late stage trial testing its cancer drug Sutent in advanced colon cancer was discontinued after it was deemed to be no more effective than standard chemotherapy.
An independent Data Monitoring Committee found that adding Sutent to a chemotherapy regimen as an initial treatment for colon cancer that has spread would be unable to show a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival compared with the chemotherapy alone, Pfizer said.
The world's largest drugmaker said no new safety issues were identified with Sutent, known chemically as sunitinib.
The setback comes just days after Sutent proved effective against a rare form of pancreatic cancer in another Phase III trial.
"We are disappointed with this result, but trial successes and failures are an integral part of cancer drug development and contribute to a growing body of knowledge on improving patient care," Mace Rothenberg, head of clinical development and medical affairs for Pfizer's oncology unit, said in a statement.
Sutent is currently approved to treat advanced kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumor, a cancer of the digestive system. The disappointment in metastatic colon cancer does not impact the approved uses of the drug.
Pfizer said it would continue to study Sutent in late-stage trials as a potential treatment for various other types of cancer and work to develop other colon cancer treatments.