The addition of Tumor Treating Fields to standard therapy tended to improve overall survival in patients with pretreated metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
Adding Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) to standard systemic therapy tended to improve survival in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had progression on or after platinum-based therapy, according to findings from the LUNAR trial that were recently published in The Lancet Oncology.
“The LUNAR data demonstrate the benefit of TTFields therapy for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. We are eager to make our therapy available to this patient population with high unmet needs, and we are confident TTFields therapy has a place in current and future standards of care,” said William Doyle, executive chairman at Novocure, in a press release.
TTFields are mild electrical pulses that travel through the skin and to the cancer cells, disrupting their ability to divide, thereby slowing down the cancer’s ability to grow, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Optune, a wearable TTField device, is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.
According to findings from LUNAR, adding TTFields to physician’s choice of immunotherapy (Opdivo [nivolumab], Keytruda [pembrolizumab] or Tecentriw [atezolizumab]) or docetaxel treatment improved three-month overall survival (the percentage of patients who were still alive three months after starting treatment) compared to those who received standard therapy alone.
Overall, patients in the TTFields group survived for an average of 13.2 months after treatment, compared with an average of 9.9 months for those only given standard therapy. Average survival was even longer in patients assigned to receive TTFields plus immunotherapy (66 patients), at 18.5 months, compared to an average overall survival of 10.8 months for those given immunotherapy alone (68 patients). For those given TTFields plus docetaxel (71 patients), average survival was 11.1 months, compared to 8.7 months in those who received docetaxel alone (71 patients).
“The results of the LUNAR trial support the use of Tumor Treating Fields therapy in metastatic NSCLC in the second line and beyond,” primary investigator, Dr. Ticiana Leal, a researcher and medical oncologist at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and associate professor and director of the Thoracic Medical Oncology Program in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said in the press release.
According to the press release, TTFields led few grade 3 (moderate) side effects, with no added grade 4 or 5 (severe of fatal, respectively) side effects. The most common side effect that was directly related to the TTFields were skin related. The most frequent grade 3 or 4 side effects oberserved overall — meaning that they were not directly related to TTFields — were leukopenia, pneumonia and anemia, according to the study.
“This is a promising development for a population of patients with limited treatment options. The results suggest that Tumor Treating Fields therapy can safely be used along with standard systemic therapies to extend survival without reducing quality of life,” Leal said.
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