Impressive outcomes from a lung cancer drug have been reported in recently published research over the weekend. Osimertinib, a tablet, was found to reduce mortality risk in half over a five-year period in patients who had it coupled with surgery. Patients whose tumours have a rather frequent mutation type are the target population for the treatment.
Osimertinib is marketed under the trade name Tagrisso and was created by the business AstraZeneca. It belongs to a group of medications that block the EGFR protein, also known as the epidermal growth factor receptor. Normal cells need EGFR, but some malignancies make far larger amounts of it, which promotes their growth. Osimertinib received FDA approval in 2015 to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) with a certain EGFR-related mutation. Since then, AstraZeneca has worked to demonstrate that its medication can effectively treat all of these EGFR-related malignancies.
The latest England Journal of Medicine published the latest study over the weekend. It examines long-term data from the ADAURA Phase III trial conducted by the business. 682 patients with early-stage EGFR-mutated NSCLCs who underwent complete surgical resection of their tumours participated in the study. Osimertinib or a placebo was given to the patients at random.
The patients’ tumours were discovered when they were still treatable with surgery alone. However, these malignancies commonly come back and frequently end in death. However, in this experiment, those on osimertinib had a significantly improved likelihood of surviving. The medicine was found to reduce the chance of dying five years following treatment by 51% across both the primary analysis (covering a subgroup of patients) and secondary analysis (encompassing every participant in the trial). In comparison to the placebo group, 88% of patients who received osimertinib were still alive five years later.
Because fewer people smoke, lung cancer rates have significantly decreased during the previous few decades. However, despite advances in therapy, lung cancer continues to be the most common type of cancer-related death, with only a 25% overall five-year survival rate. The most prevalent kind of lung cancer is NSCLC, and EGFR-mutated tumours account for 25% of all occurrences globally (and up to 40% in Asian populations). Therefore, it appears that these findings mark a significant advancement in the treatment of these specific tumours.
Later this year, AstraZeneca intends to make available additional research demonstrating the efficacy of utilising Osimertinib in combination with conventional chemotherapy to treat advanced EGFR-mutated lung malignancies. Outside researchers and supporters, though, are already enthused about the medication’s potential to replace conventional care for these patients.
“It is hard to convey how important this finding is and how long it’s taken to get here,” Nathan Pennell, a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology who was not involved with the study, told the Guardian. “This shows an unequivocal, highly significant improvement in survival.”