Fennec Pharmaceuticals Announces Updated NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines Recommend PEDMARK® (sodium thiosulfate injection) to Reduce the Risk of Cisplatin-Induced Hearing Loss in Pediatric Patients
~ PEDMARK is the First and Only FDA-Approved Therapy Indicated to Reduce the Risk of Ototoxicity Associated with Cisplatin in Pediatric Patients with Localized, Non-metastatic Solid Tumors ~
~ The 5-year Survival Rate for Childhood Cancers Due to Major Treatment Advances is Now 85 Percent or Higher,1 Underscoring Need to Mitigate the Profound Impact Hearing Loss Can Have on a Child’s Learning and Development ~
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Jan. 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: FENC; TSX: FRX), a commercial stage specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN) has updated its clinical practice guidelines for Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology to include PEDMARK® (sodium thiosulfate injection) to help reduce the risk of ototoxicity (hearing loss) associated with cisplatin use in pediatric patients with localized, non-metastatic solid tumors.
“The use of cisplatin chemotherapy, an indispensable treatment of choice in many pediatric cancer cases, can be toxic to the ears and frequently causes permanent and irreversible bilateral hearing loss. In fact, permanent hearing loss occurs in approximately 60 percent of children treated with cisplatin and can be as high as 90 percent2,” said Rosty Raykov, chief executive officer of Fennec Pharmaceuticals. “We applaud NCCN for not only recognizing the importance of routine monitoring for hearing loss – which can have a profound impact on children’s learning and development at all ages – and also for providing a clear recommendation for the routine use of PEDMARK, a recently approved FDA therapeutic that may help reduce this unfortunate treatment-related side effect. Moreover, the FDA has directed that PEDMARK is not substitutable with other sodium thiosulfate products as part of the approved prescribing label.3”
The update to the Clinical Guidelines for AYA Oncology follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of PEDMARK in September 2022, which was based upon safety and efficacy data from two pivotal open-label, randomized Phase 3 trials (Clinical Oncology Group [COG] Protocol ACCL0431 and SIOPEL 6), which compared PEDMARK plus a cisplatin-based regimen to cisplatin-based regimens alone for the reduction of cisplatin-induced hearing loss in pediatric patients. Fennec Pharmaceuticals commercially launched PEDMARK in the U.S. in October 2022.
“As a parent community, we are enthusiastic about the long-awaited approval of PEDMARK for the treatment of hearing loss associated with cisplatin. Anytime there is an opportunity to safely increase the long-term quality of life for a young patient, it should be considered a top priority in both therapeutic and supportive care,” said Kimberly Buff, founder & executive director of the non-profit community organization, Momcology®. “With many of our survivors now thankfully living to experience adult lives, we must take every action possible now to gift them the opportunity for the best future possible.”
The goal of the NCCN Guidelines for AYA Oncology is to identify issues specific to the AYA population; recommend interventions unique to the AYA population; educate physicians regarding the prevalence of cancer in AYAs; discuss long-term consequences; explain considerations related to the management in AYA patients that aims to improve treatment tolerance, compliance and clinical outcome; and promote participation in clinical trials.
About Cisplatin-Induced Ototoxicity
The incidence of ototoxicity depends upon the dose and duration of chemotherapy, and many of these children require lifelong hearing aids or cochlear implants, which can be helpful for some, but do not reverse the hearing loss and can be costly over time.5 Infants and young children that are affected by ototoxicity at critical stages of development lack speech and language development and literacy, and older children and adolescents often lack social-emotional development and educational achievement.6
PEDMARK® (sodium thiosulfate injection)
In the U.S. and Europe, it is estimated that, annually, more than 10,000 children may receive platinum-based chemotherapy. The incidence of ototoxicity depends upon the dose and duration of chemotherapy, and many of these children require lifelong hearing aids. There is currently no established preventive agent for this hearing loss and only expensive, technically difficult, and sub-optimal cochlear (inner ear) implants have been shown to provide some benefit. Infants and young children that suffer ototoxicity at critical stages of development lack speech language development and literacy, and older children and adolescents lack social-emotional development and educational achievement.
PEDMARK has been studied by co-operative groups in two Phase 3 clinical studies of survival and reduction of ototoxicity, COG ACCL0431 and SIOPEL 6. Both studies have been completed. The COG ACCL0431 protocol enrolled childhood cancers typically treated with intensive cisplatin therapy for localized and disseminated disease, including newly diagnosed hepatoblastoma, germ cell tumor, osteosarcoma, neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma, and other solid tumors. SIOPEL 6 enrolled only hepatoblastoma patients with localized tumors.
Indications and Usage
Limitations of Use
Important Safety Information
Hypersensitivity reactions occurred in 8% to 13% of patients in clinical trials. Monitor patients for hypersensitivity reactions. Immediately discontinue PEDMARK and institute appropriate care if a hypersensitivity reaction occurs. Administer antihistamines or glucocorticoids (if appropriate) before each subsequent administration of PEDMARK. PEDMARK may contain sodium sulfite; patients with sulfite sensitivity may have hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening or severe asthma episodes. Sulfite sensitivity is seen more frequently in people with asthma.
PEDMARK is not indicated for use in pediatric patients less than 1 month of age due to the increased risk of hypernatremia or in pediatric patients with metastatic cancers.
Hypernatremia occurred in 12% to 26% of patients in clinical trials, including a single Grade 3 case. Hypokalemia occurred in 15% to 27% of patients in clinical trials, with Grade 3 or 4 occurring in 9% to 27% of patients. Monitor serum sodium and potassium levels at baseline and as clinically indicated. Withhold PEDMARK in patients with baseline serum sodium greater than 145 mmol/L.
Monitor for signs and symptoms of hypernatremia and hypokalemia more closely if the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) falls below 60 mL/min/1.73m2.
Administer antiemetics prior to each PEDMARK administration. Provide additional antiemetics and supportive care as appropriate.
The most common adverse reactions (=25% with difference between arms of >5% compared to cisplatin alone) in SIOPEL 6 were vomiting, nausea, decreased hemoglobin, and hypernatremia. The most common adverse reaction (=25% with difference between arms of >5% compared to cisplatin alone) in COG ACCL0431 was hypokalemia.
Please see full Prescribing Information for PEDMARK® at: www.PEDMARK.com.
About Fennec Pharmaceuticals
Forward Looking Statements
For a more detailed discussion of related risk factors, please refer to our public filings available at www.sec.gov and www.sedar.com.
PEDMARK® and Fennec® are registered trademarks of Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc.
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