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Patient receives chemotherapy
Credit: Rhoda Baer

MADRID—A small molecule called rolapitant can prevent nausea and vomiting in patients receiving cisplatin-based chemotherapy, results of a phase 3 trial suggest.

When given prior to chemotherapy, rolapitant induced a complete response in about 70% of patients.

These patients had no emesis after chemotherapy and did not require any rescue medication.

“This agent makes a significant difference in the way people tolerate their chemotherapy,” said Martin Chasen, MD, of Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre in Canada.

“Patients experienced no loss in quality of life, and, in fact, many saw meaningful improvements. One of the patients in the rolapitant cohort reported that he had just finished 18 holes of golf one week after receiving chemotherapy. This is in sharp contrast to many patients on current standard anti-emetics that are too ill to get out of bed within a week after each cycle of cisplatin.”

Dr Chasen and his colleagues reported these results at the ESMO 2014 Congress (abstract LBA47_PR).

The team had set out to evaluate rolapitant, a novel antagonist of the NK-1 receptor, for the prevention of severe nausea and vomiting often experienced by patients receiving cisplatin-based chemotherapy, which may cause dose reductions and treatment discontinuation.

The trial included 532 patients who were randomized 1:1 to receive rolapitant plus granisetron/dexamethasone or placebo plus granisetron/dexamethasone prior to chemotherapy.

The primary endpoint was complete response (defined as the patient having no emesis and not requiring any rescue medication) in the delayed phase (>24-120 hours) post-chemotherapy. Key secondary endpoints included complete response during the acute phase (0-24 hours) and overall (0-120 hours).

The trial met its primary endpoint, with 72.7% of patients receiving rolapitant achieving a complete response in the delayed phase, compared to 58.4% of those receiving placebo (P<0.001).

Rolapitant also improved the complete response rate compared to placebo in the acute phase—83.7% and 73.7%, respectively (P=0.005).

Overall, the complete response rates were 70.1% and 56.5%, respectively (P=0.001).

Patients receiving rolapitant tended to report that chemotherapy had less of an impact on their daily quality of life, although the difference between the treatment arms was not significant—72.8% vs 67.8% (P=0.231).

“Rolapitant demonstrated a significant effect in both the acute and delayed phases,” Dr Chasen noted. “Our primary endpoint was achieved in the delayed phase—an incredible result.”

“We know that the NK-1 receptor in the brain must be blocked to control nausea and vomiting. Rolapitant is an exceptionally long-term receptor blocker that binds to the receptor and remains in place for up to 120 hours, therefore not allowing the chemotherapy to induce nausea and vomiting.”

Dr Chasen added that rolapitant may prove effective in patients receiving less emetogenic cancer treatments as well. ht-logo-end

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