A new daily pill has shown promising results in reducing the risk of death from common lung cancer. In India, lung cancer accounts for 5.9% of all cancers and 8.1% of all cancer-related deaths, according to a 2021 study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.
Previous research has demonstrated new treatment options for lung cancer. For instance, last year in December, Columbia Engineering researchers developed a new experimental pipeline to combine bacterial therapy with current cancer drugs.
This new study shows that a pill, taken once every day, halved people's risk of dying from lung cancer after tumour-removal surgery, as reported by PTI. The research, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated the effect of the drug osimertinib which dramatically reduced the risk of patients dying after surgery by 51%.
For the study, 682 patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive osimertinib (80 mg once daily) or placebo until disease recurrence was observed. The results revealed 85% of patients treated with osimertinib were alive at five years compared to 73% on placebo, as reported by PTI.
Moreover, in the overall trial population, 88% of patients treated with osimertinib were alive at five years compared to 78% on placebo, the researchers said.
"These highly anticipated overall survival results, with 88 per cent of patients alive at five years, are a momentous achievement in the treatment of early-stage EGFR-mutated lung cancer," said a principal investigator in the trial, Roy S. Herbst, Deputy Director and Chief of Medical Oncology at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital, US, as reported by PTI. The data emphasise that adjuvant treatment with osimertinib provides patients with the best chance of long-term survival, Herbst added.
Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca, called osimertinib a transformative medicine and said it is the backbone treatment for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutated lung cancer.
"These results emphasise the importance of diagnosing patients with lung cancer early, testing for EGFR mutations and treating all those with an EGFR mutation with Tagrisso ( osimertinib),” Galbraith said in the statement, as reported by PTI.