Bayer gets approval for Nexavar

The Bayer anticancer drug Nexavar (sorafenib) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat the most common form of liver cancer that can’t be surgically removed, medically called unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Nexavar was approved to treat advanced kidney cancer in 2005. It’s among a newer class of drugs (kinase inhibitors), which target enzymes that spur tumor cell growth.

HCC is responsible for about 90% of malignant liver tumors. Liver cancer is the world’s sixth most common form of cancer, with roughly 600,000 cases diagnosed globally each year.

In clinical testing, Nexavar improved overall survival by 44 percent among people with HCC. Median overall survival was 10.7 months among those treated with the drug, versus 7.9 months among those who took a placebo.