According to the “thrilling” and “unprecedented” results of a decade-long global study, a once-daily dose cuts the risk of dying from lung cancer in half.
Results presented at the world’s largest cancer conference show that taking osimertinib after surgery dramatically reduced the risk of death in patients by 51%.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, causing approximately 1.8 million deaths annually. The results of a late-stage study led by Yale University were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (Asco) Annual Meeting in Chicago.
“Thirty years ago there was nothing we could do for these patients,” said Dr. Roy Herbst, deputy director of Yale University. cancer Research center and first author. “Now we have this powerful drug.
“The 50% figure is a big deal for any disease, but it’s certainly important for diseases like lung cancer, which are usually very resistant to treatment.”
The Adaura trial involved patients aged 30 to 86 from 26 countries to see if the tablet could help patients with the most common form of non-small cell lung cancer.
All participants in the trial had mutations in the EGFR gene, which is found in about a quarter of lung cancer cases worldwide and up to 40% of cases in Asia. EGFR mutations are more common in women than in men and are more common in people who have never smoked or who have a history of light smoking.
Herbst, speaking in Chicago, said the “surprising” results add a lot of weight to previous results from the same trial that showed the pill halved the risk of disease recurrence.
Herbst, assistant dean of translational research at Yale University School of Medicine, said the pill has proven to “change the medical landscape” and is the “standard of care” for a quarter of lung cancer patients with EGFR mutations worldwide. said it should be.
The drug is already available to some patients in the UK, US and other countries, but more patients should benefit, he said.
Not everyone diagnosed with lung cancer is tested for EGFR mutations, Herbst said, and given the findings of the study, the mutations need to be changed. “This further reinforces the need to identify these patients using available biomarkers at diagnosis and prior to treatment initiation.”
Postoperative treatment with AstraZeneca’s osimertinib, also known as Tagrisso, “significantly reduced” the risk of death in lung cancer patients, the study reported. “The adjuvant osimertinib demonstrated an unprecedented, highly statistically significant and clinically meaningful overall survival benefit in patients,” the report states.
After 5 years, 88% of patients who took daily tablets after tumor resection were still alive, compared to 78% of those treated with placebo. Overall, patients who received osimertinib had a 51% lower risk of death than those who received placebo.
A survival effect was “consistently observed” in analyzes across all study subgroups, including patients with stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 lung cancer. Sixty percent of study participants received chemotherapy, and osimertinib benefited survival regardless of prior chemotherapy.
“It’s hard to tell how important this discovery is and how long it took to get here,” said Asco expert Dr. Nathan Pennell, who was not involved in the study. . “This shows a clear and highly significant improvement in survival.”
About two-thirds of the 682 patients in the trial were women. About two-thirds of the patients had never smoked, suggesting that smokers and nonsmokers diagnosed with lung cancer may benefit from the drug.
Angela Terry, president of lung cancer charity EGFR Positive UK, said the findings were “very exciting” and “very important”.
“The five-year overall survival rate of 88% is incredibly encouraging news,” she says. “Having access to drugs with proven efficacy and acceptable side effects means patients can feel confident and enjoy a longer and better quality of life.”
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