FDA Approves New Lung Cancer Drug

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Boehringer Ingelheim announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for Gilotrif (afatinib) tablets for the treatment of patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung whose disease has progressed after treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy. The U.S. approval follows the recent marketing authorization of Gilotrif in this patient population by the European Commission. Gilotrif, an oral, once-daily EGFR-directed therapy, is currently approved in the U.S. for the first-line treatment of specific types of EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC.

“We are pleased to bring a proven therapy to patients suffering from advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung who have progressed despite chemotherapy,” said Sabine Luik, MD, senior vice president, Medicine & Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “This approval is further evidence of Boehringer Ingelheim’s strong commitment to bringing new treatment options to the lung cancer community.”

According to a press release from Boehringer Ingelheim, squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) of the lung is associated with a poor prognosis, limited survival and symptoms like cough and dyspnea. The median overall survival (OS) after diagnosis of advanced SqCC is around one year.

LUX-Lung 8 clinical trial investigator Shirish Gadgeel, MD, leader of the Thoracic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Karmanos Cancer Center, Detroit, commented: “The overall survival data and significant delay in lung cancer progression seen in the global head-to-head Phase III trial demonstrated that Gilotrif is an effective new treatment option in this patient population.”

The sNDA was based on results of the head-to-head LUX-Lung 8 trial in patients with SqCC of the lung whose tumors progressed after first-line chemotherapy. Gilotrif, compared to erlotinib, demonstrated:

  • Significant delay in progression of lung cancer (PFS, progression-free survival, primary endpoint), reducing the risk of cancer progression by 18%
  • Significant improvement in overall survival (OS, key secondary endpoint), reducing the risk of death by 19%
  • Significantly improved disease control rate (51% vs 40%; P=0.002)

The most common adverse reactions observed with Gilotrif (reported in at least 20% of study patients) were diarrhea (75%), rash or acne (70%), stomatitis (mouth sores) (30%), decreased appetite (25%), and nausea (21%).

The release noted LUX-Lung 8 (NCT01523587) is part of the Gilotrif LUX-Lung program, the largest collection of clinical trials of any EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), with over 3,760 patients across eight studies conducted around the world. The comprehensive LUX-Lung program includes two pivotal studies in the first-line setting for EGFR mutation-positive patients, LUX-Lung 3 and LUX-Lung 6, which compared Gilotrif to chemotherapy regimens. In addition, the program included two head-to-head studies (LUX-Lung 7 and LUX-Lung 8) of Gilotrif versus first-generation EGFR TKIs gefitinib and erlotinib, respectively. The LUX-Lung program has involved over 680 sites in 40 countries.

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