Xofigo-Zytiga Prostate Cancer Combo Study Resulted in Increase in Deaths, Bone Fractures

After identifying an increased rate of bone fractures and deaths in a recent study involving the radiation drug Xofigo, Bayer has “unblinded” a clinical trial that was evaluating the potential use of the drug in combination with Johnson & Johnson’s hormone chemotherapy drug Zytiga.

In a press release issued last week, Bayer announced it was following recommendations from the Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) and unblinding a phase III clinical trial on a possible Xofigo/Zytiga combo drug for prostate cancer.

In a clinical trial, the term “blinded” means that neither administering doctors nor patients know if they are getting the actual drug, a placebo or some other variation of the drugs being tested. To “unblind” the trial means that Bayer is revealing to doctors and others involved in the trial which test subjects received which drugs.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

The unblinding of the trial is designed to help them better understand an increase in the number of deaths and bone fracture cases among patients who were believed to have been given Xofigo.

“Patient safety is our top priority. We are therefore unblinding the study to thoroughly analyze the data,” Mike Devoy, Chief Medical Officer at Bayer, said in the press release. “It is important to note that, based on available data from previous trials as well as real-world use, the benefit-risk profile of Xofigo in its approved indication remains favorable.”

Xofigo (radium Ra 223 dichloride) is an injection that contains radioactive material. It is approved to treat metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer that has been resistant to medical or surgical treatments and has spread to the bones. It was first approved by the FDA in 2013.

This was the third phase of clinical trials that sought to determine whether Xofigo could be used in combination with steroids and Zytiga, which is a hormone-based chemotherapy drug also used to treat prostate cancer.

The randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involved more than 800 patients and began in September 2016. While neither Bayer nor the IDMC issued actual numbers on fractures and deaths, the IDMC, which can view the unblinded data as it ensures the safety of such clinical trials, notified the company of the increased fractures and deaths among patients receiving Xofigo and called for the company to unblind the trial to look at the data.

The press release does not indicate whether the trial has been cancelled or just halted.


  • KimOctober 12, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    My father received 2 to 3 of Xofigo and suffered significant side effects such as diarrhea, nausea & vomiting, severe fatigue, decreased bone marrow function, expedited weight loss, & loss of appetite so he stopped receiving this on his own and slowly improving.

  • WandaMarch 5, 2022 at 1:07 pm

    After my husband started getting xofigo treament he went down hill real fast and died on March 19 2021.

  • VikkiMarch 25, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    When my husband started Xofigo, he started going down hill and it led to his early death in 2019. There should be a lawsuit

  • ClareJune 20, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    As soon as my husband began getting Xofigo injections he started to get worse and died 9/4/2016 I also began to feel sick and would get diarrhea just being in the vehicle driving him there and back and at home

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Want your comments reviewed by a lawyer?

To have an attorney review your comments and contact you about a potential case, provide your contact information below. This will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories