Novartis' drug Afinitor has been found to halt tumour growth in 55 per cent of patients, it has emerged.
Set to be presented at the 2009 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, the data found the product induced tumour shrinkage in 45 per cent of subjects.
The 54 gastric cancer patients in the study were heavily pre-treated, from Japan and of Asian descent.
Atsushi Ohtsu, director of the research centre for innovative oncology at the National Cancer Hospital in Japan, said the treatment option for patients who progressed was "very limited".
He added: "The results from this study demonstrate that Afinitor has the potential to provide an effective new option for these patients."
Enrollment for a further clinical trial scheme is set to take place this year and will involve 500 advanced gastric cancer patients.
The tests will carry on evaluating the efficacy and safety of Novartis' drug.
Last month, the first phase III results for FTY720, a treatment for patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis, were announced.
Data from the Transforms study found a 0.5 mg dose of the therapy reduced annualised relapse rates by 52 per cent.