FDA OKs Osimertinib (Tagrisso) as First Adjuvant Drug for NSCLC

Megan Brooks

December 21, 2020

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved osimertinib (Tagrisso, AstraZeneca) as the first adjuvant treatment for adults with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) bearing epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated (EGFR) exon 19 deletions or exon 21 L858R mutations.

Osimertinib was first approved in the US in 2018 for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic EGFR-mutated NSCLC.

With this new indication, "patients may be treated with this targeted therapy in an earlier and potentially more curative stage of non-small cell lung cancer," Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA's Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a news release.

The expanded indication is based on results of the ADAURA clinical trial, which compared osimertinib with placebo following complete resection of localized or locally advanced NSCLC with negative margins. 

In the trial, adjuvant osimertinib reduced the relative risk of disease recurrence or death by 83% in patients with stage II and IIIA disease (hazard ratio [HR], 0.17; 95% CI, 0.12 - 0.23; P < .0001).

Disease-free survival (DFS) in the overall trial population of patients with stage IB-IIIA disease showed osimertinib reduced the risk of disease recurrence or death by 80% (HR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.15 - 0.27; P < .0001).

At 2 years, 89% of patients treated with the targeted agent remained alive and disease free vs 52% on placebo after surgery. The safety and tolerability of osimertinib in the adjuvant setting was consistent with previous trials in the metastatic setting.

The trial of 682 patients was unblinded early and halted on the recommendation of the independent data-monitoring committee, because of the efficacy of osimertinib.

"If I were on the committee, I would have done the same thing. These are extraordinary results," study investigator Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, chief of medical oncology at the Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, Connecticut, said at a press briefing prior to the study presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's (ASCO) virtual scientific program last spring.

In a Medscape commentary, Mark Kris, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, said the data from the ADAURA trial with osimertinib in the adjuvant setting are "important and practice-changing."

"The potential for this drug to improve outcomes has been there for a long time. This phase 3 randomized trial presented at the plenary session of ASCO showed a more than doubling of disease-free survival at 2 years. It shows that we can use therapies in the earlier stages of disease," Kris noted.

"This approval dispels the notion that treatment is over after surgery and chemotherapy, as the ADAURA results show that Tagrisso can dramatically change the course of this disease," Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president, AstraZeneca oncology business unit, said in a news release.

Osimertinib had orphan drug status and breakthrough therapy designation for treatment of EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC.

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