AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso has established a strong foothold in non-small cell lung cancer — the largest section of the lung cancer community — with multiple approvals in the early setting. Those approvals include patients with removed tumors, an indication where physicians have gone back and forth on the use of chemotherapy.
Now, AstraZeneca may have an answer for the chemo debate: It doesn’t really matter in terms of our drug’s efficacy.
EGFR inhibitor Tagrisso reduced non-small cell lung cancer patients’ risk of death or disease recurrence regardless of whether they received chemotherapy after having their tumors removed, according to data from a subanalysis of the Phase III Adaura trial presented Friday at the virtual World Congress on Lung Cancer.
Adaura patients who had previously received chemotherapy saw a 87% risk reduction of recurrence or death on Tagrisso, and patients who had not previously undergone chemo saw a 77% reduction there — both statistically significant results.
The follow-up analysis comes just weeks after the FDA approved Tagrisso to treat NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations who had undergone tumor resection and optional, standard postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy.
According to Dave Fredrickson, AZ’s executive VP of the oncology business unit, the newest subanalysis could help sway some medical oncologists who don’t recommend post-surgical chemo for their NSCLC patients.
“Some physicians really believe adjuvant chemo is important in this population, and there’s others who don’t really see it as providing a definite benefit,” he said. “Irrespective, (Tagrisso’s) a targeted therapy that doesn’t require use of chemotherapy.”
Tagrisso’s early-stage NSCLC pickup for tumor resected patients in December looked to add significantly to the AZ bestselling oncology drug’s $4 billion per year haul. The drug previously sported approvals in first-line metastatic EGFR-mutated NSCLC and second-line metastatic NSCLC patients with EGFR T790M mutations.
On Friday, AstraZeneca also highlighted data from the Phase I ODIN BM trial targeting NSCLC patients whose cancer had spread to the brain. The imaging study showed micro-doses of Tagrisso showed “rapid, high and wide” spread in the brain.
That’s great news for Tagrisso, Fredrickson said, because it could indicate the drug is particularly strong at crossing the blood-brain barrier and could have a potential effect in treating CNS metastases.