European Medicines Agency approval summary: Zaltrap for the treatment of patients with oxaliplatin-resistant metastatic colorectal cancer

ESMO Open. 2017 May 2;2(2):e000190. doi: 10.1136/esmoopen-2017-000190. eCollection 2017.


On 1 February 2013, a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union was issued for aflibercept (Zaltrap) in combination with irinotecan/5-fluorouracil/folinic acid chemotherapy for the treatment of adults with metastatic colorectal cancer resistant to or progressive after an oxaliplatin-containing regimen. Aflibercept is a recombinant fusion protein which blocks the activation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors and the proliferation of endothelial cells, acting as a soluble decoy receptor that binds to VEGF-A with higher affinity than its native receptors, as well as placental growth factor and VEGF-B. The use of aflibercept was studied in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III study, in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) who had previously been treated with an oxaliplatin-based treatment with or without prior bevacizumab. Aflibercept (n=612) was compared with placebo (n=614), both in combination with FOLFIRI (infusional fluorouracil, leucovorin and irinotecan). The primary endpoint of the study was overall survival (OS). The median OS in the intent-to-treat population was 13.5 months in subjects treated with aflibercept compared with 12.1 months for subjects in the control arm (stratified HR=0.817, 95% CI 0.714 to 0.935, stratified pvalue=0.0032). The frequency of adverse events was higher in the aflibercept arm compared with the placebo arm, reflecting the toxicity profile of anti-VEGF agents in combination with chemotherapy. This paper is based on the scientific review of the application leading to approval of aflibercept in the EU. The detailed scientific assessment report and product information for this product are available on the European Medicines Agency website ( Trial registration number NCT00561470, Results.

Keywords: Aflibercept; Approval; EMA; European Medicines Agency; Metastatic Colorectal Cancer; Zaltrap.

Publication types

  • Review

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