Merck Expand Study Investigating Erbitux as 1st Line Treatment in Advanced Gastric Cancer Completes Recruitment

Merck KGaA announced that recruitment has been completed for the pivotal Phase III EXPAND(a) clinical trial investigating the efficacy of Erbitux® (cetuximab) in treating patients with advanced gastric cancer. The international study has recruited more than 870 patients since commencing enrollment in 2008. Dr. Florian Lordick, MD, Klinikum Braunschweig, Hannover Medical School, Germany explanied, Erbitux has shown promising efficacy in several Phase II studies so there is strong rationale for larger scale investigation of the drug’s efficacy in this disease. Gastric cancer is known to be difficult to treat, therefore patients need new treatment options that exceed the benefit of classical chemotherapy.

EXPAND is a multi-center, open label, randomized, controlled study taking place at 185 centers in 25 countries including Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Japan. The trial will assess the efficacy of Erbitux in combination with cisplatin and capecitabine chemotherapies as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced/metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma. The primary endpoint of the study is progression-free survival determined by an independent review.

About Gastric Cancer

Gastric cancer, also known as stomach cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and the fourth among women worldwide. Generally, gastric cancer rates are about twice as high in men as in women.(4) Each year nearly 930,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with gastric cancer and approximately 700,000 die of the disease.