FDA Approves Cyramza (Ramucirumab) as Treatment for Metastatic, EGFR+ or ALK+ NSCLC that Worsens After Chemo

The gist: A drug called Cyramza (aka ramucirumab) can now be taken by U.S. patients with metastatic, ALK-positive or EGFR-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that worsened after chemotherapy treatment. The drug is to be taken along with the chemotherapy drug docetaxel.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved a new drug to treat non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), offering patients new hope in fighting this difficult disease. Lung cancer is expected to lead to over 150,000 deaths in the United States this year alone, and NSCLC accounts for about 85 percent of all lung cancers.

“The drug, Cyramza (ramucirumab), was tested on more than 1,200 patients with NSCLC whose cancer worsened during or after first-line chemotherapy. The research was conducted as part of a multi-year, phase 3 clinical trial at UCLA and other centers in 26 countries on six continents. The study is the first in previously treated NSCLC patients to demonstrate a survival benefit in the entire study population in approximately a decade.

“Cyramza is an antibody that targets the extracellular domain of VEGFR-2, an important protein in the formation of vessels that supply blood to cancer cells. Patients were given the experimental drug in combination with docetaxel, a clinically approved therapy that is considered the cornerstone of second-line treatment in advanced NSCLC, said Dr. Edward Garon, the national principal investigator and a researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Results of the study were recently published by Dr. Garon and colleagues in The Lancet.”