For those with certain types of lung cancer, the oral medication Tagrisso® (osimertinib) shows promise. Tagrisso is a third-generation epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor drug developed by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.
This medication has been approved for non–small-cell lung cancer, specifically for cancers that have an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation called T790M. Lung cancers with this mutation can benefit from this medication, since it interrupts the signal from the EGFR protein that otherwise encourages cell growth.
Tagrisso earned Food and Drug Administration approval as part of the Breakthrough Therapy Designation Program after phase 1 and phase 2 studies were submitted. Now, a phase 3 study has been published, showing that this medication is superior to platinum therapy plus pemetrexed for centrally confirmed T790M-positive advanced non–small-cell lung cancer after first-line EGFR-TKI therapy.
One of the clear advantages between these two treatments is that Tagrisso is an oral medication, while the other therapy is intravenous. But the further difference, showing a better outcome with Tagrisso, is what really makes this phase 3 trial noteworthy. Patients taking Tagrisso were found to have better response rates and a longer time of progression-free survival compared to those on platinum therapy plus pemetrexed. Even more heartening was a lower risk of adverse events in the Tagrisso group.
Mok TS, Wu YL, Ahn MJ, et al. Osimertinib or platinum–pemetrexed in EGFR T790M–positive lung cancer. New Engl J Med 2017;376:629-40.