Top 4 Lung Cancer News Stories of Summer 2024


During summer 2024, there have been many changes made in the non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer spaces. Here are four top news stories.

Illustration of a doctor wearing a mask and pointing at a pair of lungs.

Here are 4 top lung cancer stories from summer 2024.

Ever since the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago this past June, research has paved the way for improved treatments for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

Of note, some treatments may change the standard of care for patients with certain mutations, such as Tagrisso (osimertinib) in certain patients with EGFR-positive NSCLC. Other treatments, such as Imdelltra (tarlatamab) have opened the door to a brand-new type of treatment in the SCLC space.

Here’s a look at four top news stories for lung cancer during summer 2024.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Stories

Lorbrena Shows Longest Progression-Free Survival in Advanced NSCLC

The tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), Lorbrena (crizotinib), demonstrated the longest progression-free survival (PFS; time a patient lives without their cancer worsening or spreading) in patients with ALK-positive NSCLC.

A TKI is a drug that blocks tyrosine kinase enzymes to prevent further growth of cancer cells, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Results from the phase 3 CROWN trial were presented at this year’s ASCO Annual Meeting, which highlighted the five-year follow-up data. Importantly, the researchers in the trial found that the median PFS was not reached, meaning not enough patients receiving Lorbrena experienced disease progression for researchers to calculate the median time until the disease worsened.

Tagrisso Could Become Standard of Care for Some With EGFR+ NSCLC

For some patients with stage 3, EGFR-positive NSCLC, Tagrisso may become the go-to treatment, based on results from the phase 3 LAURA trial, which were also presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting. Eligible patients also have locally advanced disease (a tumor that spread nearby, but not to other areas of the body) and can receive surgery to remove the tumor.

In the trial, patients were divided into two groups to receive either Tagrisso or placebo (inactive drug). The PFS rates in the Tagrisso group were 74% and 65% at 12 months and 24 months, respectively. In the placebo group, the 12- and 24-month PFS rates were 22% and 13%, respectively.

“Based on these results, [Tagrisso] will become the new standard of care for patients with [EGFR-mutated], locally advanced NSCLC following definitive chemoradiation,” lead study author Dr. Suresh S. Ramalingam, executive director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, said in the press briefing at ASCO. “EGFR mutation testing should be conducted for patients with stage 3 disease in order for patients to achieve optimal outcomes.”

Small Cell Lung Cancer Stories

Imdelltra for Small Cell Lung Cancer Addresses Key Unmet Needs

For the last 30 years, treatment in the SCLC space mainly consisted of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, Dr. Sally Lau, medical oncologist at NYU Langone Health Perlmutter Cancer Center, said during an interview with CURE®.

Imdelltra — a type of bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) — is a new option for patients with extensive-stage SCLC who experienced disease progression after receiving platinum-based chemotherapy.

BiTE is a type of treatment that links two target proteins to different cells, which include healthy immune cells (T-cells) and cancer cells, to help destroy the cancer cells, as defined by the National Cancer Institute.

“The armamentarium for [SCLC] in the past has been chemotherapy and more chemotherapy,” Lau said. “So, [Imdelltra] is new and something where we haven’t seen such great responses before, not just in a degree of [tumor] shrinkage, but also in the time that patients are living with small cell lung cancer.”

Posttreatment Imfinzi Sets New Standard for Small Cell Lung Cancer

Also in the SCLC space, Imfinzi (durvalumab) was shown to significantly improve survival outcomes when patients with limited-stage (LS) SCLC received it as a consolidation treatment following chemoradiation.

Consolidation treatment is given to patients after treatment — such as chemoradiation — to destroy any remaining cancer cells. This is to prevent the cancer from returning.

This finding was established during the phase 3 ADRIATIC study and was presented as an analysis at the ASCO Annual Meeting.

Of note, the median PFS was 16.6 months with Imfinzi, compared with 9.2 months with placebo at the median follow-up of 27.6 months, the analysis stated.

“The treatment benefit was generally consistent across predefined subgroups for both OS and PFS, and consolidation treatment up to two years was well tolerated…,” said Dr. David R. Spigel, medical oncologist and chief scientific officer at Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, during the presentation at ASCO. “Consolidation [Imfinzi] will become the new standard of care for patients with LS-SCLC following chemoradiotherapy.”

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Image of Dr. Minesh Mehta at ASCO 2024.
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