EORTC analysis characterizes long-term responders and survivors on pazopanib for advanced soft tissue sarcomas

First post on 10 February 2014

An EORTC analysis appearing in Annals of Oncology confirmed the importance of known prognostic factors such as performance status and tumor grading for having a long-term outcome in patients treated with pazopanib for metastatic soft tissue sarcoma. Additionally, hemoglobin at baseline was found to be a new prognostic factor.

Soft tissue sarcomas are a heterogeneous and relatively rare tumor with an estimated incidence of four per 100,000 people per year in Europe. The prognosis for patients with this disease is favorable if they are diagnosed at an early stage and if all of the tumor can be completely removed surgically. Unfortunately, half of all patients develop distant metastases, and the median overall survival for advanced patients is only about twelve months.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Kasper of the Sarcoma Unit of the Interdisciplinary Tumor Center at the Mannheim University Medical Center in Germany and lead author of this analysis says, “One approach to treat patients with advanced stage soft tissue sarcoma is to target angiogenesis, and pazopanib is a recently approved orally available angiogenesis inhibitor. We analyzed pooled data from two prospective EORTC trials, the phase II trial in which 118 patients and the phase III PALETTE trial in which 226 patients were treated with pazopanib, to characterize long-term survivors and responders.”

At a median follow-up of 2.3 years, the investigators found that 36 % of the patients had a progression-free survival of six months or longer, defined as long-term responders, and 34 % survived 18 months or longer, defined as long-term survivors. Furthermore, 3.5 % of patients remained progression free under pazopanib for more than two years. Median time on pazopanib in these patients was 2.4 years with longest duration of 3.7 years. In summary, good performance status, low / intermediate grade of the primary tumor and a normal hemoglobin level at baseline were advantageous for long-term outcome.

This EORTC analysis was supported by the EORTC Charitable Trust.

John Bean, PhD
EORTC, Medical Science Writer