Is it [anamorelin] better than megestrol acetate…? It might be, and also doesn’t increase the risk of blood clots, like megestrol acetate does.
—Charles Loprinzi, MD
Charles Loprinzi, MD, Regis Professor of Breast Cancer Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, commented on these study findings to The ASCO Post: “This is a clinical application of the ghrelin agonist story that’s been brewing for maybe a decade. Is it better than megestrol acetate, the drug that’s out there and stimulates appetite and leads to weight gain? It might be, and also doesn’t increase the risk of blood clots, like megestrol acetate does.”
Anamorelin was well tolerated, with no notable differences in toxicity between the study arms; nausea, hyperglycemia, and diabetes were the most frequent drug-related adverse events. Median 1-year survival was not different between the study arms.
“Cachexia is a vexing symptom,” added Susan McClement, PhD, RN, Professor, College of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, and Research Associate, Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit, CancerCare Manitoba.
“If there’s something we can identify for patients that can help truly reverse cachexia so the weight gain that we see is not just fat and water but lean muscle mass and all the other important outcome indicators that Dr. Temel talked about, then that’s exciting,” stated Dr. McClement. ■
Disclosure: Drs. LoPrinzi and McClement reported no potential conflicts of interest.
The investigational agent anamorelin significantly increased lean body mass, body weight, total body mass, and fat mass in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and cachexia, according to Jennifer S. Temel, MD, who presented the results of two phase III studies at the 2015...