- Darolutamide now approved for metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer as well as non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer
- Additional indication based on data from the pivotal Phase III ARASENS trial
The Chinese National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) has approved the oral androgen receptor inhibitor (ARi) darolutamide in combination with docetaxel for the treatment of patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHSPC). Darolutamide is already approved in China for the treatment of patients with non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (nmCRPC), who are at high risk of developing metastatic disease.
The approval is based on the positive results from the Phase III ARASENS trial, which demonstrated that darolutamide plus androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in combination with docetaxel significantly reduced the risk of death by 32.5% compared to ADT with docetaxel, in patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. Additionally, the darolutamide combination showed consistent benefits across clinically relevant secondary endpoints, with the overall incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events being similar between treatment arms. These results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.1
Darolutamide is being investigated in a broad development program with three additional ongoing or planned large clinical studies, to evaluate its potential across prostate cancer patients from the early- to the late-stage of this disease. This includes the ARANOTE Phase III trial evaluating darolutamide plus androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) versus ADT alone for mHSPC.
Darolutamide is developed jointly by Orion and Bayer.
About the ARASENS Trial
The ARASENS trial is a randomized, Phase III, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial which was prospectively designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of oral darolutamide, an androgen receptor inhibitor (ARi), plus androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and the chemotherapy docetaxel in patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHSPC). A total of 1,306 newly diagnosed patients were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive 600 mg of darolutamide twice a day or matching placebo, plus ADT and docetaxel.
The primary endpoint of this trial was overall survival (OS). Secondary endpoints included time to castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), time to pain progression, time to first symptomatic skeletal event (SSE), time to initiation of subsequent anticancer therapy, all measured at 12‐week intervals, as well as adverse events (AEs) as a measure of safety and tolerability. Results from this trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.1 A plain language summary publication of these data was published in Future Oncology.2 The ARASENS trial demonstrated that darolutamide plus androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and docetaxel significantly reduced the risk of death by 32.5% compared to ADT plus docetaxel.1 Improvements in the secondary endpoints supported the benefit observed in the primary endpoint, overall survival.1
About Metastatic Hormone-Sensitive Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed malignancy in men worldwide. In 2020, an estimated 1.4 million men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 375,000 died from the disease worldwide.3
At the time of diagnosis, most men have localized prostate cancer, meaning their cancer is confined to the prostate gland and can be treated with curative surgery or radiotherapy. Upon relapse, when the disease will metastasise or spread, or if the disease is newly diagnosed, but has already spread, the disease is hormone-sensitive and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the cornerstone of treatment for this hormone-sensitive disease. Current treatment options for men with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHSPC) include hormone therapy, such as ADT, androgen receptor pathway inhibitors plus ADT or a combination of docetaxel chemotherapy and ADT. Despite these treatments, a large proportion of men with mHSPC will eventually experience progression to metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), a condition with limited survival.
Darolutamide is an oral androgen receptor inhibitor (ARi) with a distinct chemical structure that binds to the receptor with high affinity and exhibits strong antagonistic activity, thereby inhibiting the receptor function and the growth of prostate cancer cells. The low potential for blood-brain barrier penetration for darolutamide is supported by preclinical models and neuroimaging data in healthy humans. This is supported by the overall low incidence of central nervous system (CNS)-related adverse events (AEs) compared to placebo as seen in the ARAMIS Phase III trial4 and the maintained verbal learning and memory observed in the darolutamide arm of the Phase II ODENZA trial.5
The product is approved under the brand name Nubeqa® in more than 80 countries around the world for the treatment of patients with non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (nmCRPC), who are at high risk of developing metastatic disease. It is also approved for the treatment of patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHSPC) in a number of markets including the U.S., Japan, EU and China. Filings in other regions are underway or planned by Bayer. The compound is also being investigated in further studies across various stages of prostate cancer, including in the ARANOTE Phase III trial evaluating darolutamide plus androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) versus ADT alone for metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHSPC), as well as the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP) led international Phase III co-operative group DASL-HiCaP (ANZUP1801) trial evaluating darolutamide as an adjuvant treatment for localised prostate cancer with very high risk of recurrence. Information about these trials can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov. In addition, a study to explore the potential of darolutamide in the early setting for patients who have experienced a rise in their prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels following surgery or radiation, is also planned.
Tuukka Hirvonen, Investor Relations
tel. +358 10 426 2721
- Smith M. R., Hussain M, Saad F, et al. Darolutamide and survival in metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. N Engl J Med 386:1132-1142 (2022). https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2119115.
- Smith M. R., Hussain M., Saad F. et al. Darolutamide and survival in metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer: a patient and caregiver perspective and plain language summary of the ARASENS trial. Future Oncol. 2022;18:21:2585-2597. https://doi.org/10.2217/fon-2022-0433.
- Global Cancer Statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.3322/caac.21660. Accessed January 2023.
- Fizazi, K et al. N Engl J Med. 2019; 380:1235–1246.
- Colomba E. et al. ODENZA: A French prospective, randomized, open-label, multicenter, cross-over phase II trial of preference between darolutamide and enzalutamide in men with asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). J Clin Onc 2021; 39 (15_suppl): 5046-5046.
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Orion is a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company – a builder of well-being. We develop, manufacture and market human and veterinary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Orion has an extensive portfolio of proprietary and generic medicines and self-care products. The core therapy areas of our pharmaceutical R&D are oncology and pain. Proprietary products developed by Orion are used to treat cancer, neurological diseases and respiratory diseases, among others. Orion's net sales in 2022 amounted to EUR 1,341 million and the company had about 3,500 employees at the end of the year. Orion's A and B shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.