A panel of cancer experts has backed the benefits of a GlaxoSmithKline drug for a rare type of tumor, noting there are few other treatment options.

The 11-2 vote by the Food and Drug Administration panel is not binding, but the agency usually follows its recommendations.

Glaxo's studies of Votrient showed the drug halted tumor growth for three months on average. However, patients didn't ultimately live significantly longer than those taking chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy has been the standard treatment for sarcomas for decades.

Soft tissue sarcomas are a rare class of tumors that form in the fat, muscles and joints, often around the limbs and chest. An estimated 11,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed in 2011 and 3,900 died from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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