ASCO Highlight: New Trial Results Show Lung Cancer Drug Delays Cancer Progression Compared to Standard Chemotherapy

Boehringer Ingelheim's investigational lung cancer treatment afatinib* prolongs progression free survival (PFS) for advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients with specific EGFR genetic mutations

TORONTO, June 11, 2012 /CNW/ - Data recently presented at 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago found that people with EGFR mutation positive non-small cell lung cancer who were treated with the investigational lung cancer treatment, afatinib*, lived for almost one year before their disease progressed, versus just over half a year for those on standard chemotherapy.

The LUX-Lung 3 trial - the largest and most robust pivotal phase III clinical trial of its kind - also showed patients who tested positive for the two most common EGFR gene mutations lived for well over a year, or 13.6 months, without disease progression.  Afatinib* is currently under investigation and not authorized for sale in Canada.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in Canada, and an average of 55 Canadians die from it every day. That's more deaths from lung cancer in 2012 than colorectal, breast and prostate cancer combined.

There's now more and more discussion in the medical community about the need for genetic testing upon diagnosis in lung cancer, similar to what's being done in breast cancer as standard practice.  Genetic testing can help predict which treatment a patient may respond to best. 5  In some cases, if a patient tests positive for a mutation in the EGFR gene, they can be eligible to receive a targeted treatment and possibly avoid being treated with more toxic therapies like chemotherapy which can come with significant side effects.6

"Increasingly, we are now considering a more personalized approach to managing lung cancer,"  says Dr. Natasha Leighl, medical oncologist at the Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network and President of Lung Cancer Canada. "We've found that patients with specific genetic mutations - like in the EGFR gene - will respond better to certain therapies. With this in mind, it's important that all Canadians with non-small cell lung cancer be tested for their mutation status at diagnosis, similar to the way breast cancer patients are tested for their genetic mutation status at diagnosis, so that patients and their oncologists can make informed treatment decisions."

Dr. Normand Blais, a medical oncologist and director of the thoracic oncology program at the Centre Hospitalier Université de Montréal, agrees: "Survival rates for patients with non-small cell lung cancer are dissapointingly low, which is why new treatments, like afatinib, that effectively target specific genetic mutations, in this case EGFR, are desperately needed."

About Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

*Afatinib is an investigational compound. Its safety and efficacy has not yet been fully established and is currently not authorized for sale in Canada.

1 Abstract no: LBA7500, LUX-lung 3: A randomized, open-label, phase III study of afatinib versus pemetrexed and cisplatin as first-line treatment for patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung harboring EGFR-activating mutations. Oral Presentation at 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2012
2 Canadian Cancer Society's Steering Committee: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012. Toronto,ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2012, Page 7.
3 Canadian Cancer Society's Steering Committee: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012. Toronto,ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2012, Page 9.
4 Canadian Cancer Society's Steering Committee: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012. Toronto,ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2012, Page 9.
5 Lung Cancer Canada. "Important information for people with advanced non-small cell lung cancer." Page 1.
6 Iressa, Product Monograph, March 6, 2012. Page 3.

Video with caption: "Video: EGFR Mode of Action". Video available at:

SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim

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