Phenoxodiol Used In Combination With Platinum or Taxane-Based Chemotherapy Is Active In Platinum & Taxane-Resistant Ovarian Cancer

Phase II clinical study results suggests phenoxodiol is active in platinum and taxane drug-resistant ovarian cancer patients when administered intravenously in combination with platinum or taxane-based chemotherapy

Marshall Edwards, Inc., an oncology company focused on the clinical development of novel therapeutics targeting cancer metabolism, recently announced the publication of results from a phase II clinical trial of intravenous phenoxodiol in combination with cisplatin or paclitaxel in women with platinumrefractory/resistant ovarian cancer. The publication is now available on the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer website, and the print edition will appear the May issue of the journal.

The study, conducted at Yale-New Haven Hospital, showed that the combination of intravenous phenoxodiol, a novel NADH oxidase inhibitor, with cisplatin (a platinum-based chemotherapy) or paclitaxel (a taxane-based chemotherapy), was well tolerated.

Robert D. Mass, M.D., Acting Chief Medical Officer, Marshall Edwards.

In the study, 32 patients were randomized to one of two treatment arms according to their previous treatment responses: (1) platinum refractory/resistant patients received weekly cisplatin (40 mg/m intravenous), combined with weekly phenoxodiol (3 mg/kg); and (2) taxane refractory/resistant patients received weekly paclitaxel (80 mg/m intravenous), combined with weekly phenoxodiol (3 mg/kg). The study patients continued on treatment until complete response, disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or voluntary withdrawal.

In the cisplatin study arm, there were 3 partial responses, 9 patients (56%) achieved stable disease, 4 patients (25%) progressed, and the overall best response rate was 19%. In the paclitaxel study arm, there was one complete response and 2 partial responses, 8 patients (53%) achieved stable disease, 4 patients (27%) progressed, and the overall best response rate was 20%. Response rate in this study was defined as the percentage of patients whose tumor demonstrated a radiologically confirmed reduction or disappearance after treatment.

There were no treatment-related deaths in the study, and there was only one treatment-related hospitalization and two grade 4 (i.e., life-threatening or disabling) adverse events.

Based upon the foregoing results, the researchers concluded that the combination of intravenous phenoxodiol with cisplatin or paclitaxel was well tolerated.  Moreover, the researchers stated that the cisplatin-phenoxodiol combination was particularly active and warrants further study in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

“These results suggest that the combination of intravenous phenoxodiol with cisplatin has a good safety profile and may be capable of reversing resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy,” said lead author Michael G. Kelly, M.D., a gynecologic oncologist at Tufts Medical Center and former fellow at Yale University School of Medicine.” This study provides early clinical proof-of-concept for the combination of NADH oxidase inhibitors with standard-of-care chemotherapy and lays the groundwork for the development of more potent next-generation compounds.”

To date, phenoxodiol, an investigational drug, has been introduced into more than 400 patients in multiple clinical trials via oral or intravenous routes and has been well tolerated. Marshall Edwards has identified a next-generation compound called “NV-143,” which has demonstrated significantly more activity than phenoxodiol against a broad range of tumor cell lines. In addition to being more active as a single agent, NV-143 appears to be superior in its ability to synergize with platinum-based chemotherapy in pre-clinical studies. As a result, Marshall Edwards plans to initiate a phase I clinical trial of intravenous NV-143 later this year, followed immediately thereafter by randomized phase II trials in combination with chemotherapy.

“These published results combined with data from previous studies reinforce our conclusion that intravenous administration is the optimal route of delivery for this class of drugs and give us added confidence moving forward as we develop our next-generation compound NV-143 for the clinic,” said Robert D. Mass, M.D., Acting Chief Medical Officer of Marshall Edwards.

About Marshall Edwards

Marshall Edwards, Inc. is a San Diego-based oncology company focused on the clinical development of novel anti-cancer therapeutics. The Company’s lead programs focus on two families of small molecules that result in the inhibition of tumor cell metabolism. The first and most advanced is a NADH oxidase inhibitor program that includes lead drug candidate NV-143. The second is a mitochondrial inhibitor program that includes NV-128 and its next-generation candidate NV-344. Both programs are expected to advance into the clinic in 2011. For more information, visit www.marshalledwardsinc.com.

About Novogen Limited

Novogen Limited is an Australian biotechnology company based in Sydney, Australia. Novogen has a consumer healthcare business, and conducts research and development on oncology therapeutics through its 71.3% owned subsidiary, Marshall Edwards, Inc.

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