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The chemotherapy agent, Yondelis® (trabectedine), improves outcomes compared to the standard agent, DTIC (dacarbazine), in patients with advanced liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma that has recurred or progressed following prior therapies. These results were recently published as a “rapid communication” in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma are both types of soft-tissue sarcomas.  Soft tissue refers to tissue that supports, connects or surrounds other structures or organs in the body. Soft tissue can include fat, muscle, nerve, tendons, blood vessels and lymph vessels.

Liposarcoma refers to a soft-tissue sarcoma that starts in fat cells. Leiomyosarcoma refers to a soft-tissue sarcoma that starts in smooth muscle. Smooth muscle is the type of muscle that acts involuntarily, meaning there is no voluntary control over the contraction or relaxation of the muscle. Examples of smooth muscle are the digestive system, uterus, skin or salivary glands.

Soft-tissue sarcomas can occur at several different sites in the body; wherever fat cells and smooth muscle are located.

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Researchers recently conducted a multicenter, phase III clinical trial to directly compare trabectedine to dacarbazine in patients with liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma. The trial included 518 patients with metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma (cancer spread to distant sites in the body) who had received prior therapy with an anthracycline (type of chemotherapy) in addition to at least one other standard therapeutic regimen.

  • Median progression-free survival (survival without progression of cancer) was 4.1 months for patients treated with trabectedin, compared with only 1.5 months for those treated with dacarbazine.
  • The most common severe side effects of trabectedin were low levels of blood cells and elevated levels of liver enzymes.

The researchers stated that “Trabectedin demonstrates superior disease control versus conventional dacarbazine in patients who have advanced liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma after they experience failure of prior chemotherapy. Because disease control in advanced sarcomas is a clinically relevant end point, this study supports the activity of trabectedin for patients with these malignancies.”

Reference: Demetri G, von Mehren M, Jones R, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Trabectedin or Dacarbazine for Metastatic Liposarcoma or Leiomyosarcoma After Failure of Conventional Chemotherapy: Results of a Phase III Randomized Multicenter Clinical Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology. Published online before print September 14, 2015, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.62.4734.

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