(CTN News) – Clinical trial data released at the annual conference of Lung Cancer specialists in Chicago has revealed that a pill called osimertinib, marketed as Tagrisso, can reduce the risk of death from a specific type of lung cancer by 51 percent.
The drug, developed by AstraZeneca, targets non-small cell lung cancer patients with a particular mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).
This mutation affects a significant percentage of lung cancer patients worldwide. The trial involved 680 participants from over 20 countries who had undergone surgery to remove the tumor.
Half of the participants took the drug daily, while the other half received a placebo. The results showed that those who took the drug had a significantly lower risk of death compared to those who took the placebo.
After five years, 88 percent of the treated patients were still alive, compared to 78 percent of the placebo group. This breakthrough treatment has the potential to prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.
Approximately one-third of non-small cell cancers can undergo surgery when detected, according to Dave Fredrickson, the executive vice president of oncology at AstraZeneca.
In an interview with Reuters news agency, Fredrickson described this improvement as both dramatic and remarkable.
Nathan Pennell of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who did not participate in the trials, emphasized the significance of this finding during a news conference, stating that personalized therapy is now entering the era of early-stage patients.
Pennell also highlighted the need to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to treating non-small cell lung cancer.
Osimertinib, which has already been authorized in numerous countries for various indications, has been administered to approximately 700,000 individuals, as stated in a press release from AstraZeneca.
Its approval in the US for early stages in 2020 was based on previous data demonstrating an improvement in patient disease-free survival.
However, not all doctors have embraced this treatment, as many were awaiting data on overall survival, which was presented on Sunday. Screening patients for the EGFR mutation is crucial before utilizing this new treatment, according to Herbst.
Without this mutation, the treatment cannot be used. Osimertinib, the targeted receptor therapy, may cause side effects such as severe fatigue, skin rashes, or diarrhea.