ChemoCentryx eyes combinations after posting pancreatic cancer OS data 

Cancer forming in the pancreas (Manu5/CC BY-SA 4.0)(By Manu5 ( [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

ChemoCentryx has posted 18-month survival data from a phase 1b trial of one of its CCR2 inhibitors in pancreatic cancer patients. Almost 30% of the participants were still alive 18 months after starting treatment on a combination of CCX872 and the chemotherapy regimen FOLFIRINOX. 

Mountain View, Calif.-based ChemoCentryx compared the result from its 50-patient, single-arm trial favorably to that generated in a 2011 study that gave FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine to 342 patients. That study linked FOLFIRINOX to an 18.2% survival rate after 18 months. 

However, the impact of comparison is weakened by differences in the patient population, plus more general issues about the unreliability of cross-trial juxtapositions. 

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The FOLFIRINOX-gemcitabine clinical trial only enrolled patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Some patients in that study had metastases in as many as six sites, and the median number was two. ChemoCentryx enrolled metastatic patients, too, but this group only accounted for 76% of the trial population. The other quarter of participants had locally advanced pancreatic cancer. 

ChemoCentryx needs to generate more data to prove CCX872 has a future in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. But it sees the phase 1b results as positive enough to support further investment in the program.

“The positive findings from our pancreatic cancer trial demonstrate that improved patient survival could result from selectively inhibiting CCR2 with CCX872, thereby blocking the immune-suppressing cells that CCR2 maintains in the tumor environment,” ChemoCentryx CEO Thomas Schall, Ph.D., said in a statement.

That mechanism of action lends itself to combination therapies. ChemoCentryx has preclinical data suggesting CCX872’s potential to lower tumor defenses make it a good partner for checkpoint inhibitors. And combination trials feature in CCX872’s clinical trial strategy.

Shares in ChemoCentryx rose 6.5% in after-hours trading following publication of the results.