Study finds AstraZeneca drug given alongside chemo shows 'strong improvement' for advanced lung cancer patients

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Astrazeneca Lung cancer Pharmacology Active ingredient Pharmaceutical drug Drug discovery Clinical trial

Small molecule drug, Tagrisso (Osimertinib) taken alongside chemotherapy has showed a strong improvement in progression-free survival for patients with EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor)-mutated advanced lung cancer, a phase 3 study has revealed.

The reason for the study​ was to find out if an experimental combination of the oral medication when used in combination with chemotherapy is more effective than giving osimertinib alone for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

The researchers said some lung cancers are due to mutations in the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which, if known, can help physicians decide the best treatment for their patients. One type of mutation can occur in the gene that produces a protein on the surface of cells called the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR).

The results from the Flaura2 trial support potential for a new treatment option that builds on the benefit of first-line standard of care Tagrisso monotherapy.

The study found positive high-level results showed AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso in combination with chemotherapy demonstrated a ‘statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS)’ compared to Tagrisso alone for patients with locally advanced, stage 3b - 3c, or metastatic stage 4 EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Safety results and discontinuation rates due to adverse events were consistent with the established profiles of each medicine. At the time of this analysis, the overall survival (OS) data were immature and will be formally assessed at a subsequent analysis.

The researchers found that each year, an estimated 2.2 million people are diagnosed with lung cancer around the world with 80-85% of patients diagnosed with NSCLC, the most common form of lung cancer.

Approximately 70% of people are diagnosed with advanced NSCLC. Additionally, about 10-15% of NSCLC patients in the US and Europe, and 30-40% of patients in Asia have EGFR-mutated NSCLC.

Pasi Jänne, medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and principal investigator for the Flaura2 trial, said: “As the global standard of care for EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer, osimertinib monotherapy has transformed the treatment landscape allowing many patients the opportunity to achieve improved survival.

“Flaura2 provides compelling evidence that the addition of chemotherapy to osimertinib can provide a new option for patients and clinicians that further improves outcomes compared to osimertinib alone and as such, can further delay treatment resistance and disease progression.”

Susan Galbraith, executive vice president of oncology R&D at AstraZeneca, said: “These significant Flaura2 results show Tagrisso has the potential to offer patients in the first line setting a new treatment option that can extend the time they live without their disease progressing. This meaningfully builds on successive trials which have demonstrated improved clinical benefit with Tagrisso in patients with EGFR-mutated lung cancer.”​

The data will be presented at a forthcoming medical meeting and shared with global health authorities.

These results add to the extensive body of evidence for Tagrisso in EGFR-mutated NSCLC, which has improved patient outcomes in both early-stage disease in the Adaura phase 3 trial and late-stage disease in the Flaura phase 3 trial, Tagrisso has also shown proven clinical activity in treating central nervous system (CNS) metastases across settings. 

As part of AstraZeneca’s ongoing commitment to treating patients as early as possible in lung cancer, Tagrisso is also being investigated in unresectable NSCLC in the pivotal Laura phase 3 trial, with results expected later this year.

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