Algeta ASA, the Norwegian cancer therapeutics company, announced that the primary objective of its BC1-03 phase-II pain palliation study was met. The study showed that even single doses of Alpharadin in patients with painful bone metastases could produce increasing clinical benefit with increasing dose.

Pain palliation is an important quality of life benefit in metastatic cancer patients. The trial also confirmed Alpharadin's benign side-effect profile and, importantly for a drug in this clinical setting, no significant bone marrow toxicity was observed.

In men with HRPC life expectancy can be as short as 18 months, and it is estimated that 100,000 men in the EU and USA die from the disease each year. In 85 per cent of these men the tumour will have spread into the bones. These metastases are a significant problem as they can cause intractable and debilitating pain as well as contributing to a further reduction in life expectancy.

The BC1-03 study was a double-blind randomised pain control study comparing the palliative effects of four different single dose levels of Alpharadin in patients with bony metastatic HRPC. The drug was given by i.v. injection mainly on an outpatient basis. The palliative efficacy of Alpharadin was measured using an assessment of bone pain as well as the patient's consumption of analgesia. The primary study objective was to investigate whether there was a dose-response relationship with respect to pain palliation in this patient group. The study has shown the beneficial palliative effect of a single dose of Alpharadin and that there is a clear dose-response effect, with higher doses providing better pain relief.

The study also showed a dose-dependent reduction in bone alkaline phosphatase (ALP) ranging from no effect in the lowest dose group to a marked reduction in the higher dose groups. ALP is a severity marker of bony metastatic disease and of prognostic importance.

The study has also further confirmed the safety of Alpharadin and shown its benign side-effect profile. In fact, the higher the dose of Alpharadin that patients reduction in the higher dose groups. ALP is a severity marker of bony metastatic disease and of prognostic importance.

The study has also further confirmed the safety of Alpharadin and shown its benign side-effect profile. In fact, the higher the dose of Alpharadin that patients received, the fewer adverse events were experienced. This reproduces the safety profile of the earlier BC1-02 phase-II study where the Alpharadin group experienced fewer adverse effects than the placebo comparator group. Importantly for a drug in this clinical setting no significant bone marrow toxicity was observed in patients receiving Alpharadin.

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