By: John Kopp
Azedra fights rare adrenal gland cancers through radiation
Patients with adrenal gland cancers soon will have a new treatment option in their battle against the rare and highly-lethal diseases.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a radiation therapy drug that provides the first non-surgical treatment for the neuroendocrine cancers pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma.
The new radiotherapy treatment, branded Azedra by Progenics Pharmaceuticals, attacks the cancers with high, specifically-targeted doses. Previously, surgery marked the only option for patients.
Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma tumors form inside and outside of the adrenal gland, respectively. The cancers are rare – only 650 to 2,500 new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States.
Often times, the cancers cannot be treated surgically – and the survival rate is considerably low.
Each year, between 10 and 35 percent of such cases are deemed metastatic or locally invasive at diagnosis. The five-year survival rate of inoperable cases can be as low as 12 percent.
The treatment’s approval was based on a multi-center trial conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center.
The trial found Azera provides a dual benefit to the patients. It both controls the tumor and the hypertensive symptoms associated with the cancers.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.