Conference Coverage

Osimertinib improves survival in advanced NSCLC



BARCELONA – In patients with advanced, treatment-naive non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), therapy with osimertinib (Tagrisso) is associated with a significant and clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival, compared with other agents targeted against NSCLC with epidermal growth factor–receptor (EGFR) mutations, investigators for the FLAURA trial reported.

Suresh Ramalingam, MD, from Emory Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta. Neil Osterweil/MDedge News

Dr. Suresh Ramalingam

After median follow-up ranging from 27 to 35.8 months, the median overall survival was 38.6 months for patients randomized to osimertinib, compared with 31.8 months for patients assigned to either of two comparator tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), gefitinib (Iressa) or erlotinib (Tarceva).

The hazard ratio for death with osimertinib was 0.799 (P = .0462), reported Suresh Ramalingam, MD, director of the lung cancer program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta.

“I’m excited that the new milestone accomplished with osimertinib in this trial will serve as the platform to build on in our efforts to improve the lives of patients with lung cancer,” he said at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress.

Osimertinib is the first TKI to show improvement in overall survival over another TKI in the treatment of advanced stage cancers, he noted.

Overall survival was a secondary endpoint of the FLAURA trial. As previously reported, FLAURA met its primary endpoint of improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) in an interim analysis presented at ESMO 2017. In that analysis, osimertinib cut the risk of disease progression by 54%, compared with gefitinib or erlotinib.

Among 279 patients with EGFR-mutated locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC treated with osimertinib, the median PFS was 18.9 months, compared with 10.2 months for 277 patients treated with the standard of care, which translated into a HR of 0.46 (P less than .0001).

The FLAURA results supported Food and Drug Administration approval of osimertinib in April 2018 for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC with EGFR mutations as detected by an FDA-approved test.

The current overall survival analysis, although not powered to show differences among patient subgroups, showed trends favoring osimertinib over a comparator TKI among both men and women, older and younger patients, patients with central nervous system metastases at trial entry, and patients with the EGFR exon 19 deletion at randomization.

The 31.8 month median overall survival for the control (comparator-TKI) arm is among the highest reported for patients with EGFR-mutated NSCLC, Dr. Ramalingam noted.

“That is because a lot of patients crossed over from the control group to receive osimertinib on progression,” he said, adding that the magnitude of benefit from osimertinib was greater among non-Asian patients, compared with Asians.

FLAURA details

In the phase 3 FLAURA trial, investigators stratified patients with previously untreated NSCLC positive for EGFR resistance mutations according to mutation status (exon 19 deletion or the L858R amino acid substitution in exon 21) and race (Asian or non-Asian).

Patients were randomly assigned to treatment with either oral osimertinib 80 mg daily or an EGFR TKI, either oral gefitinib 250 mg or erlotinib 150 mg daily.

The patients were assessed by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) every 6 weeks until objective disease progression.

Patients assigned to the standard-of-care arm who had central confirmation of progression and T790M positivity were allowed to cross over to open-label osimertinib.

PFS, the primary endpoint, was also significantly better with osimertinib than with either of the comparator TKIs in patients with and without central nervous system metastases at study entry (HR, 0.47; P = .0009 for patients with CNS metastases; HR, 0.46; P less than .0001 for patients with no CNS metastases).

Dr. Pilar Garrido Neil Osterweil/MDedge News

Dr. Pilar Garrido

“For clinicians, for patients, and also for our health authorities, the results in terms of overall survival are really relevant, and this is why this study is so important, knowing this secondary endpoint from a statistical point of view. The study is statistically significant and clinically relevant,” commented Pilar Garrido, MD, from the department of medical oncology, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal in Madrid, the invited discussant at a briefing where Dr. Ramalingam outlined the study findings prior to his presentation of the data in a symposium.

“What’s the future of EGFR mutant lung cancer? Well, I think we should be done with single-agent EGFR-TKI comparisons: We have a clear agent that’s associated with an improvement in survival. I think our focus needs to shift to building on or adding to osimertinib,” commented Pasi A Jänne, MD, PhD, director of the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, the invited discussant at the symposium.

He said that the challenge for clinicians will be to identify high- and low-risk EGFR-mutant NSCLC, and to determine which patients could be treated with a single agent, and which may require a combination therapy approach.

FLAURA was sponsored by AstraZeneca. Dr. Ramalingam disclosed honoraria, an advisory or consulting role, and research funding from that company and others. Dr. Garrido disclosed a speaker and advisory role for AstraZeneca and others. Dr. Jänne disclosed prior consulting for AstraZeneca.

SOURCE: Ramalingam S et al. ESMO 2019. Abstract LBA5_PR.

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