(Reuters) - AstraZeneca said on Thursday a combination of its cancer drug, Imfinzi, and chemotherapy showed promise in a late-stage trial in patients with an aggressive form of lung cancer, when given before surgery.
Data on pathologic complete response showed the combination, taken before surgery, was more effective in reducing cancer cells in tissue samples than chemotherapy alone in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said.
The interim result is a boost to the company's oncology efforts - a major area of focus - following disappointing data for Imfinzi in cervical cancer earlier in the year.
AstraZeneca added the trial would continue as planned to assess the additional main goal of event-free survival, and the interim data would be shared with health authorities globally.
Imfinzi (durvalumab) is a human monoclonal antibody that binds to the PD-L1 protein and blocks the interaction of PD-L1 with the PD-1 and CD80 proteins, countering the tumour's immune-evading tactics and releasing the inhibition of immune responses, according to the company. The treatment generated $2.41 billion in 2021 sales.
"Engaging the immune response with Imfinzi both before and after surgery is an exciting new strategy," said Susan Galbraith, executive vice president of oncology R&D at AstraZeneca.
Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common form of lung cancer, accounting for about 85% of the estimated 2.2 million new cases of the disease diagnosed each year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
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