Imfinzi Improves Survival, Time to Progression in LS-SCLC


Some patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer experienced overall survival benefits and progression-free survival via treatment with Imfinzi.

Illustration of a doctor next to a pair of lungs.

Patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer may have improved survival when receiving Imfinzi.

Imfinzi (durvalumab) has reportedly demonstrated “a significantly significant and clinically meaningful improvement” in prolonging survival and time until disease progression among some patients with small cell lung cancer, according to an announcement from AstraZeneca, the drug’s manufacturer.

High-level results from the phase 3 ADRIATIC trial show that treatment with Imfinzi resulted in improvements in the trial’s two primary endpoints (the results measured at the end of a study to see if a treatment works). The endpoints included overall survival (the time a patient lives following treatment, regardless of disease status) and progression-free survival (the time a patient lives without their disease spreading or worsening).

The endpoints were measured in patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC) who had not progressed after concurrent chemoradiotherapy when compared to patients treated with placebo following concurrent chemoradiotherapy.

Data from ADRIATIC will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting and shared with regulatory authorities, stated the manufacturer, which also noted that no new safety signals were identified for Imfinzi.

Small cell lung cancer is a relatively rare and aggressive form of lung cancer, and approximately 15% to 30% of patients with LS-SCLC will still be alive five years after receiving a diagnosis of the disease, according to AstraZeneca, which touted Imfinzi as the first immunotherapy to show a survival benefit in this setting in a global phase 3 trial.

“Many patients treated for limited-stage small cell lung cancer face disease recurrence and the standard of care has remained unchanged for decades. ADRIATIC is the first global Phase III immunotherapy trial to deliver significant, clinically meaningful improvement in survival in this setting, marking a breakthrough for patients with this devastating disease,” stated Suresh Senan, professor of clinical experimental radiotherapy at the Amsterdam University Medical Center, The Netherlands, and principal investigator in the trial, in the news release.

“These exciting results build on the transformative efficacy of Imfinzi in extensive-stage small cell lung cancer and demonstrate the potential to bring a curative-intent immunotherapy treatment to this earlier-stage setting of small cell lung cancer for the first time,” added Susan Galbraith, executive vice president, Oncology R&D, for AstraZeneca, in the news release.

Imfinzi, AstraZeneca noted, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer.

In the ADRITATIC trial, standalone Imfinzi and Imfinzi plus Imjudo (tremelimumab) are being evaluated against placebo in 730 patients with LS-SCLC whose disease did not progress after concurrent chemoradiotherapy. Patients in the experimental cohorts receive 1,500 milligrams of Imfinzi with or without 75 milligrams of Imjudo every four weeks for up to four cycles, followed by Imfinzi every four weeks for up to 24 months.

“[Imfinzi] is another useful drug that comes into our arsenal for small cell lung cancer, so it's always exciting when we get new drugs,” Dr. Jorge Gomez, medical director of the thoracic oncology program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said in a 2020 interview with CURE®. “Small cell lung cancer has been a cancer where for many years we have not been able to find new drugs. (Immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors are) really the first group of drugs to improve survival in 25 to 30 years.”

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