FDA approves first treatment for advanced epithelioid sarcoma


The Food and Drug Administration has granted accelerated approval to tazemetostat (Tazverik) for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients aged 16 years and older with metastatic or locally advanced epithelioid sarcoma not eligible for complete resection.

A stamp saying "FDA approved." Olivier Le Moal/Getty Images

Approval was based on overall response rate in a trial enrolling 62 patients with metastatic or locally advanced epithelioid sarcoma. The overall response rate was 15%, with 1.6% of patients having a complete response and 13% having a partial response. Of the nine patients that had a response, six (67%) had a response lasting 6 months or longer, the FDA said in a press statement.

The most common side effects for patients taking tazemetostat were pain, fatigue, nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, and constipation. Patients treated with tazemetostat are at increased risk of developing secondary malignancies, including T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndrome, and acute myeloid leukemia.

“Epithelioid sarcoma accounts for less than 1% of all soft-tissue sarcomas,” said Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Until today, there were no treatment options specifically for patients with epithelioid sarcoma. The approval of Tazverik provides a treatment option that specifically targets this disease.”

Tazemetostat must be dispensed with a patient medication guide that describes important information about the drug’s uses and risks, the FDA said.

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