Updated results from the CASPIAN Phase III trial showed AstraZeneca’s IMFINZI® (durvalumab) in combination with a choice of chemotherapies, etoposide plus either carboplatin or cisplatin, demonstrated a sustained, clinically meaningful overall survival (OS) benefit at three years for adults with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) treated in the 1st-line setting.
These data, which show the longest survival update ever reported for an immunotherapy treatment in this setting, were presented during a mini-oral session on September 18, 2021, at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2021.
The CASPIAN trial met the primary endpoint of OS in June 2019, reducing the risk of death by 27% (based on a hazard ratio [HR] of 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.59-0.91; p=0.0047), which has formed the basis of regulatory approvals in many countries around the world. Updated results were previously presented during the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program in May 2020 with a median follow up of more than two years.
The latest results for IMFINZI plus chemotherapy showed sustained efficacy after a median follow up of more than three years for censored patients, with a 29% reduction in the risk of death versus chemotherapy alone (based on an HR of 0.71; 95% CI 0.60-0.86; nominal p=0.0003). Updated median OS was 12.9 months versus 10.5 for chemotherapy.
The results included a planned exploratory analysis, where an estimated 17.6% of patients treated with IMFINZI plus chemotherapy were alive at three years, versus 5.8% of patients treated with chemotherapy alone. The survival benefits were consistent across all subgroups, in line with previous analyses.
Luis Paz-Ares, MD, PhD, Chair, Medical Oncology Department, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain and principal investigator in the CASPIAN Phase III trial said: “Patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer historically have had limited treatment options and still face a dire prognosis, which makes these data showing that three times as many patients survive three years following IMFINZI treatment especially meaningful. These results reinforce IMFINZI plus platinum chemotherapy as an important standard of care in this setting.”
Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D, said: “This remarkable improvement in survival is an unprecedented achievement at three years for patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer. We are deeply committed to helping improve survival rates in this disease with research into new treatment options to transform outcomes at various stages, not only with the CASPIAN trial, but also with the ADRIATIC trial in limited-stage disease.”
IMFINZI plus chemotherapy continued to demonstrate a well-tolerated safety profile consistent with the known profiles of these medicines. Results showed 32.5% of patients experienced a serious adverse event (all causality) with IMFINZI plus chemotherapy versus 36.5% with chemotherapy alone.
IMFINZI in combination with etoposide and either carboplatin or cisplatin is approved in the 1st-line setting of ES-SCLC in more than 55 countries, including the US, Japan, China and across the EU.
IMFINZI is also being tested following concurrent chemoradiation therapy (CRT) in patients with limited-stage SCLC in the ADRIATIC Phase III trial as part of a broad development program. In addition, IMFINZI is also approved to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the curative-intent setting of unresectable, Stage III disease after CRT in the US, Japan, China, across the EU and in many other countries, based on results from the PACIFIC Phase III trial.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
There are no contraindications for IMFINZI® (durvalumab).
Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions
Important immune-mediated adverse reactions listed under Warnings and Precautions may not include all possible severe and fatal immune-mediated reactions. Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue. Immune-mediated adverse reactions can occur at any time after starting treatment or after discontinuation. Monitor patients closely for symptoms and signs that may be clinical manifestations of underlying immune-mediated adverse reactions. Evaluate liver enzymes, creatinine, and thyroid function at baseline and periodically during treatment. In cases of suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, initiate appropriate workup to exclude alternative etiologies, including infection. Institute medical management promptly, including specialty consultation as appropriate. Withhold or permanently discontinue IMFINZI depending on severity. See Dosing and Administration for specific details. In general, if IMFINZI requires interruption or discontinuation, administer systemic corticosteroid therapy (1 mg to 2 mg/kg/day prednisone or equivalent) until improvement to Grade 1 or less. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Consider administration of other systemic immunosuppressants in patients whose immune-mediated adverse reactions are not controlled with corticosteroid therapy.
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis. The incidence of pneumonitis is higher in patients who have received prior thoracic radiation. In patients who did not receive recent prior radiation, the incidence of immune-mediated pneumonitis was 2.4% (34/1414), including fatal (<0.1%), and Grade 3-4 (0.4%) adverse reactions. In patients who received recent prior radiation, the incidence of pneumonitis (including radiation pneumonitis) in patients with unresectable Stage III NSCLC following definitive chemoradiation within 42 days prior to initiation of IMFINZI in PACIFIC was 18.3% (87/475) in patients receiving IMFINZI and 12.8% (30/234) in patients receiving placebo. Of the patients who received IMFINZI (475), 1.1% were fatal and 2.7% were Grade 3 adverse reactions. The frequency and severity of immune-mediated pneumonitis in patients who did not receive definitive chemoradiation prior to IMFINZI were similar in patients who received IMFINZI as a single agent or with ES-SCLC when in combination with chemotherapy.
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated colitis that is frequently associated with diarrhea. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection/reactivation has been reported in patients with corticosteroid-refractory immune-mediated colitis. In cases of corticosteroid-refractory colitis, consider repeating infectious workup to exclude alternative etiologies. Immune-mediated colitis occurred in 2% (37/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 4 (<0.1%) and Grade 3 (0.4%) adverse reactions.
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Immune-mediated hepatitis occurred in 2.8% (52/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including fatal (0.2%), Grade 4 (0.3%) and Grade 3 (1.4%) adverse reactions.
- Adrenal Insufficiency: IMFINZI can cause primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency. For Grade 2 or higher adrenal insufficiency, initiate symptomatic treatment, including hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Immune-mediated adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.5% (9/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (<0.1%) adverse reactions.
- Hypophysitis: IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated hypophysitis. Hypophysitis can present with acute symptoms associated with mass effect such as headache, photophobia, or visual field cuts. Hypophysitis can cause hypopituitarism. Initiate symptomatic treatment including hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Grade 3 hypophysitis/hypopituitarism occurred in <0.1% (1/1889) of patients who received IMFINZI.
- Thyroid Disorders: IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated thyroid disorders. Thyroiditis can present with or without endocrinopathy. Hypothyroidism can follow hyperthyroidism. Initiate hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism or institute medical management of hyperthyroidism as clinically indicated.
- Thyroiditis: Immune-mediated thyroiditis occurred in 0.5% (9/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (<0.1%) adverse reactions.
- Hyperthyroidism: Immune-mediated hyperthyroidism occurred in 2.1% (39/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI.
- Hypothyroidism: Immune-mediated hypothyroidism occurred in 8.3% (156/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (<0.1%) adverse reactions.
- Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, which can present with diabetic ketoacidosis: Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of diabetes. Initiate treatment with insulin as clinically indicated. Grade 3 immune-mediated type 1 diabetes mellitus occurred in <0.1% (1/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI.
Immune-Mediated Nephritis with Renal Dysfunction
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Immune-mediated nephritis occurred in 0.5% (10/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (<0.1%) adverse reactions.
Immune-Mediated Dermatology Reactions
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated rash or dermatitis. Exfoliative dermatitis, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), have occurred with PD-1/L-1 blocking antibodies. Topical emollients and/or topical corticosteroids may be adequate to treat mild to moderate non-exfoliative rashes. Immune-mediated rash or dermatitis occurred in 1.8% (34/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (0.4%) adverse reactions.
Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions
The following clinically significant, immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred at an incidence of less than 1% each in patients who received IMFINZI or were reported with the use of other PD-1/PD-L1 blocking antibodies.
- Cardiac/vascular: Myocarditis, pericarditis, vasculitis.
- Nervous system: Meningitis, encephalitis, myelitis and demyelination, myasthenic syndrome/myasthenia gravis (including exacerbation), Guillain-Barré syndrome, nerve paresis, autoimmune neuropathy.
- Ocular: Uveitis, iritis, and other ocular inflammatory toxicities can occur. Some cases can be associated with retinal detachment. Various grades of visual impairment to include blindness can occur. If uveitis occurs in combination with other immune-mediated adverse reactions, consider a Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome, as this may require treatment with systemic steroids to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss.
- Gastrointestinal: Pancreatitis including increases in serum amylase and lipase levels, gastritis, duodenitis.
- Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: Myositis/polymyositis, rhabdomyolysis and associated sequelae including renal failure, arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatic.
- Endocrine: Hypoparathyroidism
- Other (hematologic/immune): Hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis (Kikuchi lymphadenitis), sarcoidosis, immune thrombocytopenia, solid organ transplant rejection.
IMFINZI can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions. Monitor for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions. Interrupt, slow the rate of, or permanently discontinue IMFINZI based on the severity. See Dosing and Administration for specific details. For Grade 1 or 2 infusion-related reactions, consider using pre-medications with subsequent doses. Infusion-related reactions occurred in 2.2% (42/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (0.3%) adverse reactions.
Complications of Allogeneic HSCT after IMFINZI
Fatal and other serious complications can occur in patients who receive allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) before or after being treated with a PD-1/L-1 blocking antibody. Transplant-related complications include hyperacute graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), acute GVHD, chronic GVHD, hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after reduced intensity conditioning, and steroid-requiring febrile syndrome (without an identified infectious cause). These complications may occur despite intervening therapy between PD-1/L-1 blockade and allogeneic HSCT. Follow patients closely for evidence of transplant-related complications and intervene promptly. Consider the benefit versus risks of treatment with a PD-1/L-1 blocking antibody prior to or after an allogeneic HSCT.
Based on its mechanism of action and data from animal studies, IMFINZI can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with IMFINZI and for at least 3 months after the last dose of IMFINZI.
There is no information regarding the presence of IMFINZI in human milk; however, because of the potential for adverse reactions in breastfed infants from IMFINZI, advise women not to breastfeed during treatment and for at least 3 months after the last dose.
- In patients with Stage III NSCLC in the PACIFIC study receiving IMFINZI (n=475), the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were cough (40%), fatigue (34%), pneumonitis or radiation pneumonitis (34%), upper respiratory tract infections (26%), dyspnea (25%), and rash (23%). The most common Grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions (≥3%) were pneumonitis/radiation pneumonitis (3.4%) and pneumonia (7%)
- In patients with Stage III NSCLC in the PACIFIC study receiving IMFINZI (n=475), discontinuation due to adverse reactions occurred in 15% of patients in the IMFINZI arm. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 29% of patients receiving IMFINZI. The most frequent serious adverse reactions (≥2%) were pneumonitis or radiation pneumonitis (7%) and pneumonia (6%). Fatal pneumonitis or radiation pneumonitis and fatal pneumonia occurred in <2% of patients and were similar across arms
- In patients with extensive-stage SCLC in the CASPIAN study receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy (n=265), the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were nausea (34%), fatigue/asthenia (32%), and alopecia (31%). The most common Grade 3 or 4 adverse reaction (≥3%) was fatigue/asthenia (3.4%)
- In patients with extensive-stage SCLC in the CASPIAN study receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy (n=265), IMFINZI was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 7% of the patients receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 31% of patients receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 1% of patients were febrile neutropenia (4.5%), pneumonia (2.3%), anemia (1.9%), pancytopenia (1.5%), pneumonitis (1.1%), and COPD (1.1%). Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 4.9% of patients receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy
The safety and effectiveness of IMFINZI have not been established in pediatric patients.
IMFINZI is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with unresectable Stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has not progressed following concurrent platinum-based chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
IMFINZI, in combination with etoposide and either carboplatin or cisplatin, is indicated for the first-line treatment of adult patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC).
Please see complete Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.
Notes to Editors
About small cell lung cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women and accounts for about one-quarter of all cancer deaths in the United States: more than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined.1 Lung cancer is broadly split into NSCLC and SCLC, with about 15% classified as SCLC.2
SCLC is a highly aggressive, fast-growing form of lung cancer that typically recurs and progresses rapidly despite initial response to chemotherapy.3,4 About two-thirds of SCLC patients are diagnosed with extensive-stage disease, in which the cancer has spread widely through the lung or to other parts of the body.5 Prognosis is particularly poor, as prior to the approval of immunotherapy regimens for ES-SCLC, only 7% of all patients with SCLC and only 3% of patients with extensive-stage disease will be alive five years after diagnosis.5
CASPIAN was a randomized, open-label, multi-center, global Phase III trial in the 1st-line treatment of 805 patients with ES-SCLC. The trial compared IMFINZI in combination with chemotherapy (etoposide and either carboplatin or cisplatin), or IMFINZI and chemotherapy with the addition of a second immunotherapy, tremelimumab, versus chemotherapy alone. In the two experimental arms, patients were treated with four cycles of chemotherapy. In comparison, the control arm allowed up to six cycles of chemotherapy and optional prophylactic cranial irradiation.
The trial was conducted in more than 200 centers across 23 countries, including the US, Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. The primary endpoint was OS in each of the two experimental arms. In June 2019, AstraZeneca announced the CASPIAN Phase III trial had met one primary endpoint of demonstrating OS for IMFINZI plus chemotherapy at a planned interim analysis. In March 2020, however, it was announced that the second experimental arm with tremelimumab did not meet its primary endpoint of OS.
About IMFINZI® (durvalumab)
IMFINZI is a human monoclonal antibody that binds to PD-L1 and blocks the interaction of PD-L1 with PD-1 and CD80, countering the tumor’s immune-evading tactics and releasing the inhibition of immune responses.
In addition to approvals in ES-SCLC and unresectable, Stage III NSCLC, IMFINZI is approved for previously treated patients with advanced bladder cancer in several countries. Since the first approval in May 2017, more than 100,000 patients have been treated with IMFINZI.
As part of a broad development program, IMFINZI is being tested as a single treatment and in combinations with other anti-cancer treatments for patients with NSCLC, SCLC, bladder cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, biliary tract cancer (a form of liver cancer), esophageal cancer, gastric and gastroesophageal cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and other solid tumors.
About AstraZeneca Support Programs
AstraZeneca strives to ensure that appropriate patients and their oncologists have access to IMFINZI and relevant support resources. These include educational resources, an Oncology Nurse Educator program and affordability and reimbursement programs, such as Access 360™.
Additionally, AstraZeneca has launched Lighthouse, a program that provides support to patients during any immune-mediated adverse events they may encounter during treatment, through medically trained Lighthouse Advocates. The program aims to make patients’ treatment experience as comfortable as possible. Find out more about Lighthouse at LighthouseProgram.com or call 1-855-LHOUSE1(1-855-546-8731).
About AstraZeneca in lung cancer
AstraZeneca is working to bring patients with lung cancer closer to cure through the detection and treatment of early-stage disease, while also pushing the boundaries of science to improve outcomes in resistant and advanced settings. By defining new therapeutic targets and investigating innovative approaches, the Company aims to match medicines to the patients who can benefit most.
The Company’s comprehensive portfolio includes leading lung cancer medicines and the next wave of innovations including osimertinib; durvalumab and tremelimumab; trastuzumab deruxtecan and datopotamab deruxtecan in collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo; savolitinib in collaboration with HUTCHMED; as well as a pipeline of potential new medicines and combinations across diverse mechanisms of action.
AstraZeneca is a founding member of the Lung Ambition Alliance, a global coalition working to accelerate innovation and deliver meaningful improvements for people with lung cancer, including and beyond treatment.
About AstraZeneca in immunotherapy
Immunotherapy (IO) is a therapeutic approach designed to stimulate the body’s immune system to attack tumors. The Company’s IO portfolio is anchored in immunotherapies that have been designed to overcome anti-tumor immune suppression. AstraZeneca is invested in using IO approaches that deliver long-term survival for new groups of patients across tumor types.
AstraZeneca is pursuing a comprehensive clinical-trial program that includes IMFINZI as a single treatment and in combination with tremelimumab and other novel antibodies in multiple tumor types, stages of disease and lines of therapy, and where relevant using the PD-L1 biomarker as a decision-making tool to define the best potential treatment path for a patient. In addition, the ability to combine the IO portfolio with radiation, chemotherapy, and small, targeted molecules from across AstraZeneca’s Oncology pipeline and from research partners, may provide new treatment options across a broad range of tumors.
About AstraZeneca in oncology
AstraZeneca is leading a revolution in oncology with the ambition to provide cures for cancer in every form, following the science to understand cancer and all its complexities to discover, develop and deliver life-changing medicines to patients.
The Company’s focus is on some of the most challenging cancers. It is through persistent innovation that AstraZeneca has built one of the most diverse portfolios and pipelines in the industry, with the potential to catalyze changes in the practice of medicine and transform the patient experience.
AstraZeneca has the vision to redefine cancer care and, one day, eliminate cancer as a cause of death.
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines in Oncology and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries, and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information, please visit www.astrazeneca-us.com and follow us on Twitter @AstraZenecaUS.
- American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Lung Cancer. Available at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed September 2021.
- American Cancer Society. What is Lung Cancer?. Available at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/about/what-is.html. Accessed September 2021.
- National Cancer Institute. NCI Dictionary – Small Cell Lung Cancer. Available at https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/small-cell-lung-cancer. Accessed September 2021.
- Kalemkerian GP, et al. Treatment Options for Relapsed Small-Cell Lung Cancer: What Progress Have We Made? JCO Oncol Pract. 2018;14:369-370.
- Cancer.Net. Lung Cancer - Small Cell. Available at https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/33776/view-all. Accessed September 2021.
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