The 2012 Genitourinary ("2012 GU") Cancers Symposium, Novel Mechanisms and Therapies in Multidisciplinary Management, held 2-4 February, 2012, included a poster presentation on Dendreon's (NASDAQ:DNDN) Provenge (Sipuleucel-T) - Abstract #144 - that addressed one of the overarching questions that has vexed physicians and investors alike when it comes to Dendreon's active immunological treatment for end stage prostate cancer:
What is the true median life extension survival conveyed by Provenge?
Unless you attended the symposium, you did not have access to this poster presentation. Now, with one of the author's permission, Seeking Alpha readers will find below a link to the poster for this poster. It is entitled: An analysis to quantify the overall survival, or OS, benefit of sipuleucel-T accounting for the crossover in the control arm of the IMPACT study. (D7)
I first responded to the question regarding the true median life extension last November in my article entitled Dendreon: New Trial To Examine Understatement Of Provenge Life-Extension Benefits. At that time, I cited the work of Gomella, et al.* discussed in a 2011 ASCO poster presentation. (You can view the 2011 ASCO poster here.**)
Figure 3 from that poster shows that the segment of the control arm that did not receive Frovenge had a median survival time of 12.7 months while the segment of the control arm that did receive Frovenge had a median survival time of 23.6 months. This implies that the "true" overall median survival advantage to Provenge should be considerably longer if it is determined in a trial for which the control arm is NOT given Frovenge. In fact, one might reasonably argue, on the basis of these data, that the "true" overall, median survival advantage in treating end stage prostate cancer with Provenge should be something on the order of 12.7 months, or more than one year (25.4-12.7=12.7 months)."
In General Poster Session B of 2012 GU, Chadi Nabhan, MD, director of the division of haematology and medical oncology at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, presented this poster.† From their work, the authors concluded that "(A)djusting for a positive effect of APC8015F (Frovenge) in the control arm resulted in a sipuleucel-T OS treatment benefit in the IMPACT study ranging from 4.1 to 7.8 months." Below are the relevant K-M data from that presentation, which are taken from the poster presentation heretofore only available to conference participants.
According to Nabhan, et al.††, the median OS was 25.8 months for patients in the Provenge arm, 23.8 months for control patients receiving Frovenge (APC8015F), and 11.6 months for control patients who did not receive Frovenge. "These results support a greater treatment effect of sipuleucel-T than reported in the IMPACT study and should be factored into future studies without APC8015F crossover."
This is totally consistent with the results reported previously and at the most, is almost two times the median 4.1-month life extension benefit upon which Provenge was approved.
Finally, for readers who are monitoring the Dendreon Corporation's progress in 'building out' its field operation, the latest data on Dendreon's Provenge Web site show 980 providers (academic + community).
The daily chart, courtesy StockChart.com, shows the stock, having broken through the 50-day moving average, now trading in the area of $14-$15. At the time of this writing, it is trading around $14.50. The relative strength is neutral, and the MACD line reveals little of value.
The weekly chart shows a significant improvement in relative strength, with the stock jumping off its oversold condition to neutral. The MACD is positive, indicating the "smart money" has returned to the issue. The next level of resistance will be found in the neighborhood of $22.
*L. G. Gomella, C. Nabhan, J. B. Whitmore, M. W. Frohlich, D. J. George; The Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, Philadelphia, PA; Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Oncology Specialists, S. C., Park Ridge, IL; Dendreon Corporation, Seattle, WA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC
**Reproduced with the permission of Dr. L. G. Gomella, personal communication, November 17, 2011
† Reproduced with the permission of Dr. L. G. Gomella, personal communication, February 17, 2012
†† Chadi Nabhan, Leonard G. Gomella, Todd DeVries, James Boyd Whitmore, Mark Walter Frohlich, Daniel J. George; Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Oncology Specialists, S.C., Park Ridge, IL; The Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, Philadelphia, PA; Dendreon Corporation, Seattle, WA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC
Disclosure: I am long DNDN.
Additional disclosure: I am long DNDN and will not alter my position within 72 hours of the time of publication of this article. Material presented here is for informational purposes only. Consult your financial adviser before making investment decisions. Investing includes risks, including loss of principal.