ASCO 2014 Lung Cancer Roundup


Every year, thousands of people gather in Chicago, Illinois, for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The largest meeting of its kind, ASCO brings together doctors, researchers, nurses, patient advocates, pharmaceutical company representatives, and more to discuss the latest in cancer research. Here are some of the most exciting new developments in lung cancer research presented last week at ASCO 2014: Continue reading…


MEDIA ALERT New Data Show Giotrif® (Afatinib) Provided More than One Year Additional Survival for Lung Cancer Patients with the Most Common Type of EGFR Mutation (del19) Compared to Chemotherapy

“Boehringer Ingelheim today announced results of the pre-specified individual, as well as the exploratory combined, analyses of two Phase III trials (LUX-Lung 3 and LUX-Lung 6). These data, to be presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), demonstrated for the first time that patients with NSCLC with the most common epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation (exon 19 deletions; del19) lived more than one year longer if treated with first-line afatinib compared to chemotherapy.”

Editor’s note: This article discusses the results of a clinical trial that tested a targeted drug called afatinib (aka Giotrif, or Gilotrif)  on volunteer patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The trial found that patients whose tumors had a particular mutation called del19 in the EGFR gene lived more than one year longer if treated with afatinib than if treated with chemotherapy. EGFR mutations and other mutations are detected via molecular testing, and can be used by oncologists to help develop personalized lung cancer treatment plans.


Thwarting Drug Resistance in Lung Cancer


If you’ve read up on lung cancer research in the last few years, you probably know that large strides have been made in targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Targeted therapies are drugs that identify and attack specific mutated proteins that are detected in tumors. Because noncancerous cells do not have these specific mutations, targeted therapies can make a beeline for cancer, while leaving healthy tissue unharmed. Continue reading…


NICE Draft Guidance Recommends Boehringer Ingelheim’s Giotrif

“UK drugs watchdog the National Institute for Health and care Excellence (NICE) this morning issued new draft guidance recommending German family-owned drug major Boehringer Ingelheim’s Giotrif (afatinib) as an option for treating locally-advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in people whose tumors test positive for the EGFR-TK mutation and have not received a EGFR-TK inhibitor.”

Editor’s Note: In the US, this drug is called Gilotrif. It is meant for patients whose tumors have a mutation in the EGFR gene, as detected by molecular testing. Learn more about molecular testing to guide treatment decisions.


Gilotrif Shows Effectiveness in Various Patient Populations with EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer

Afatinib (Gilotrif) is a new lung cancer drug for people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have mutations in the EGFR gene. The LUX-Lung 3 clinical trial demonstrated that Gilotrif is superior to chemotherapy as first-line treatment in a global population of patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC. The LUX-Lung 6 trial confirmed these findings specifically in an Asian population; Asia has a three times higher rate of EGFR-mutant NSCLC than Western countries. More recent evidence indicates that Gilotrif is as effective in patients with rare EGFR mutations as it is in those with common mutations. Finally, Gilotrif recently showed effectiveness in NSCLC patients whose cancer had spread to the brain.


Cancer Researcher: No Need for Further EGFR Inhibitor Versus Chemotherapy Trials

No more trials comparing EGFR inhibitors to chemotherapy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) should be conducted, argues an editorial by cancer researcher Corey Langer. Eight separate trials have found that EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva), gefitinib (Iressa), and afatinib (Gilotrif) produce better results than chemotherapy in NSCLC patients who have mutations in the EGFR gene. No further confirmation is needed, Langer contends. Instead, research should focus on ways to overcome the drug resistance that many patients eventually develop to EGFR inhibitors, meaningfully extending overall survival in NSCLC, and directly comparing the relative effectiveness and safety of Tarceva, Iressa, and Gilotrif.


Gilotrif to Be Commercially Available in the U.S. Soon

Afatinib (Gilotrif), a new drug for the treatment of some lung cancers, will become commercially available in the U.S. beginning the week of September 2. Gilotrif is approved as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have certain mutations in the EGFR gene. A companion diagnostic, the therascreen EGFR RGQ PCR Kit, can detect these specific EGFR mutations, so-called exon 19 deletions or exon 21 (L858R) substitutions. The makers of the drug will offer a patient support program to provide financial and other support to help patients who might otherwise not have access to Gilotrif.


Afatinib is FDA-Approved: What It Means For NSCLC Patients


On July 12, the FDA announced that it had approved the targeted therapy afatinib (Gilotrif) for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene.

EGFR mutations occur in about 10 to 15 percent of all NSCLC patients. The overexpression of the EGFR protein caused by the mutation leads to rapid cell division in tumors. Prior to the approval of afatinib, patients in the United States could only take erlotinib (Tarceva) to combat the EGFR mutation. The third major drug available to treat EGFR-mutated tumors, gefitinib (Iressa) has not yet been approved by the United States but is readily available in many other countries. Erlotinib has consistently outperformed gefitinib, so its lack of availability in the U.S. is no huge loss. Continue reading…


FDA Approves Afatinib/Gilotrif for Lung Cancer Treatment

Based on the positive results of a recent clinical trial, the FDA approved afatinib for first-line treatment of patients with late-stage, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a mutation in the EGFR gene. The drug, which will be marketed under the name Gilotrif, is specifically intended for patients with two particular EGFR mutations: exon 19 deletion and exon 21 L858R substitution. The FDA also approved the therascreen EGFR RGQ PCR Kit, a companion diagnostic used to test for EGFR mutations. Afatinib differs from other EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa) in that it irreversibly destroys the EGFR protein, instead of just reversibly blocking it, and also inhibits several other related proteins.