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Eli Lilly's Cyramza rallies back in liver cancer with biomarker win

April 04, 2018 / Carly Helfand

After Eli Lilly’s Cyramza flopped a phase 3 liver cancer trial in 2014, the company went back to the drawing board to design a trial for a specific subpopulation. Now, nearly four years later, it’s back with a win. Wednesday, the Indianapolis drugmaker said Cyramza had hit a pair of survival endpoints in second-line hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with high levels of the glycoprotein alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a biomarker the company called “a marker of poor prognosis.” Lilly kicked off the study back in 2015 after Cyramza in a different phase 3 study demonstrated an overall survival benefit—but not a statistically significant one. This time around, Cyramza significantly topped placebo at extending both overall survival and progression-free survival, in the process becoming the first med to put up positive liver cancer results in a biomarker-selected population.