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Advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients gain survival boost with new combination therapy

CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 24, 2024 – Patients with non-small cell lung cancer who have not responded to standard therapy achieved better response rates and longer overall survival when treated with a specific combination of targeted therapy and immunotherapy, a new clinical trial shows.

The findings of the international HUDSON study, led by researchers in Europe, Canada and in the US at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, were published Feb. 13, 2024 in Nature Medicine. 

The results showed median overall survival of 17.4 months for patients treated with a drug called durvalumab (Imfinzi®) that targets the protein PD-L1, combined with the immunotherapy drug called ceralasertib. That compared to overall survival of 9.4 months for patients treated with  other combinations.

"Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer face significant challenges when standard-of-care treatments fail," corresponding study author John Rematch, M.D. PhD at MD Anderson Cancer Center said in a press release. "For these individuals, options become limited, emphasizing the urgent need for innovative approaches. Our study represents a promising advancement in addressing this unmet need and holds the potential to offer more effective therapeutic strategies to improve outcomes for this population.

The study involved 268 patients with advanced NSCLC whose cancer progressed following standard-of-care therapy. Patients received one of four combination therapies using a targeted therapy and an immunotherapy.

The durvalumab/ceralasertib patients achieved an objective response rate of 13.9 percent compared to 2.6 percent of those treated with other combinations. Meaning the tumors stopped growing or shrank in more people given the durvalumab/ceralasertib combination.

Overall the cancer stopped growing in the durvalumab/ceralasertib patients for an average of 5.8 months (progression-free survival)  compared 2.7 months for other combination therapies.  

Based on the results, a larger randomized Phase III clinical trial is under way and enrolling patients to test the durvalumab/ceralasertib combination in larger numbers of patients.

The study was funded by AstraZeneca.

Source; MD Anderson press release


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