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Pfizer’s drug help people with rare lung cancer live longer, data shows

Sixty percent of the patients treated with Pfizer’s Lorbrena drug, for a rare form of advanced lung cancer, were alive without disease progression after five years, according to company data.

HQ Team

June 1, 2024: Sixty percent of the patients treated with Pfizer’s Lorbrena drug, for a rare form of advanced lung cancer, were alive without disease progression after five years, according to company data.

The end-stage trial involved people with previously untreated, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The drug was tested against Pfizer’s older drug, Xalkori, for the same illness.

“Sixty percent of patients treated with Lorbrena were alive without disease progression after five years compared to 8% on the Xalkori treatment arm,” according to a company statement.

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death around the world, and an estimated 234,580 new cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2024.

Brian metastases

Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 80-85% of lung cancers, with ALK-positive tumours occurring in about 3-5% of the cases.

About 25-40% of people with ALK-positive advanced NSCLC may develop brain metastases within two years from initial diagnosis.

“ALK-positive advanced NSCLC is typically aggressive and often impacts younger people in the prime of their lives,” said Benjamin Solomon, MBBS, PhD, Department of Medical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Principal Investigator of the CROWN trial. 

“This updated analysis shows that LORBRENA helped patients live longer without disease progression, with the majority of patients experiencing sustained benefit for over five years, including nearly all patients having protection from progression of disease in the brain. 

“These improvements in outcomes for patients with ALK-positive NSCLC represent a remarkable advancement in lung cancer,” he said.

Kenneth Culver, M.D., Director of Research and Clinical Affairs at the non-profit organisation ALK Positive, said:“Although ALK-positive advanced NSCLC accounts for only approximately five percent of all NSCLC cases, this translates to 72,000 people who are diagnosed worldwide each year.” 

The data were presented at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting on May 31.

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