AstraZeneca’s top-selling drug Tagrisso has been shown to slow the spread of a certain type of lung cancer to the brain when diagnosed at an early stage, according to a study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology conference. A study with patients diagnosed early enough for the lung tumour to be surgically removed, and who have a mutation of the so-called EGFR gene, found that Tagrisso cut the risk of developing brain metastases by 82%.
The late-stage Phase III trial results – presented at the virtual European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) conference – underscore the drug’s potential and may encourage a push to diagnose lung cancer earlier for patients to benefit from the drug, Astra said.
According to earlier findings of the same trial known as ADAURA, Tagrisso held back early-stage EGFR mutated lung cancer. Revenue from Tagrisso climbed 43% to $2bn in the first half of the year, mainly from EGFR-mutated lung cancer diagnosed when it has already spread to other body parts, driving sales growth in oncology.
The EGFR mutation is found in about a quarter of global lung cancer cases, but the rate in Asia can be more than 40%.
European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) conference abstract not yet available online