IMFINZI and tremelimumab with chemotherapy improved progression-free survival by 28% and overall survival by 23% in 1st-line Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer vs. chemotherapy
WILMINGTON, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 9, 2021--
Positive results from the POSEIDON Phase III trial showed AstraZeneca’s IMFINZI ® (durvalumab), and tremelimumab, when added to platinum-based chemotherapy, demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) compared to chemotherapy alone in the 1st-line treatment of patients with Stage IV (metastatic) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
These results were presented today during a Presidential Symposium at the 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (abstract PL02.01).
Melissa Johnson, MD, Director of the Lung Cancer Research program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute, and medical oncologist with Tennessee Oncology, PLLC in Nashville, Tennessee, said: “New combinations are increasingly important in addressing the remaining unmet needs that impact patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer – especially combinations that have the potential to improve efficacy in patients with lower PD-L1 expression and deliver the long-term survival benefits that have been observed with CTLA-4 inhibition. The results of POSEIDON confirm that tremelimumab added to IMFINZI and chemotherapy is an effective, well-tolerated treatment in this setting.”
Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D, said: “The POSEIDON data offer patients further benefit from IMFINZI and are an important validation of our development strategy to explore novel combinations. Adding a short course of tremelimumab to IMFINZI for those patients already receiving chemotherapy, reduced the risk of cancer progressing or death by 28% compared to chemotherapy alone. The results also showed the significant survival improvement did not compromise tolerability in the 1st-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. We look forward to discussing these data with regulatory authorities.”
Patients treated with a short course of five cycles of tremelimumab, an anti-CTLA4 antibody, over 16 weeks in addition to IMFINZI and chemotherapy experienced a 23% reduction in the risk of death versus a range of chemotherapy options (based on a hazard ratio [HR] of 0.77; 95% CI 0.65-0.92; p=0.00304). Median OS was 14.0 months versus 11.7 months for chemotherapy. An estimated 33% of patients were alive at two years versus 22% for chemotherapy. This treatment combination also reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 28% compared to chemotherapy alone (HR 0.72; 95% CI 0.60-0.86; p=0.00031) with a median PFS of 6.2 months versus 4.8 months, respectively. The combination delivered a broadly similar safety profile to the IMFINZI and chemotherapy combination and did not lead to an increased discontinuation of treatment.
POSEIDON also tested the combination of IMFINZI plus chemotherapy, which demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in PFS (HR=0.74; 95% CI 0.62-0.89; p=0.00093) versus chemotherapy alone. A positive OS trend observed for IMFINZI plus chemotherapy did not achieve statistical significance.
Summary of OS and PFS 1
IMFINZI + tremelimumab + chemotherapy
Number of patients with event (%) 3
Median OS (95% CI) (in months)
14.0 (11.7, 16.1)
11.7 (10.5, 13.1)
Hazard ratio (95% CI)
OS rate at 24 months (95% CI) (%)
32.9 (27.9, 37.9)
22.1 (17.8, 26.8)
Number of patients with event (%) 5
Median PFS (95% CI) (in months)
6.2 (5.0, 6.5)
4.8 (4.6, 5.8)
Hazard ratio (95% CI)
PFS rate at 12 months (%)
26.6 (21.7, 31.7)
13.1 (9.3, 17.6)
1 Investigator-assessed. OS data cut-off date was 12 March 2021; PFS data cut-off date was 24 July 2019
2 Median follow-up in censored patients at DCO: 34.9 months (range 0–44.5)
3 Analysis was done at 79% maturity
4 Median follow-up in censored patients at DCO: 10.3 months (range 0–23.1)
5 Analysis was done at 73% maturity
The safety profile of each IMFINZI combination was consistent with the known profiles of the individual medicines, and no new safety signals were identified. Grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events were experienced by 51.8% of patients treated with IMFINZI, tremelimumab and chemotherapy and by 44.6% of patients treated with IMFINZI plus chemotherapy, versus 44.4% for chemotherapy. Treatment-related adverse events led to treatment discontinuation in 15.5% of patients treated with IMFINZI, tremelimumab and chemotherapy and 14.1% of patients treated with IMFINZI plus chemotherapy, versus 9.9% for chemotherapy.
IMFINZI is the only approved immunotherapy in the curative-intent setting of unresectable, Stage III NSCLC after chemoradiation therapy and is the global standard of care based on the PACIFIC Phase III trial. IMFINZI is also approved in the US, the EU, Japan and many countries around the world for the treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) based on the CASPIAN Phase III trial.
IMFINZI is being further assessed across all stages of lung cancer as part of an extensive development program across NSCLC and SCLC, as well as in other tumor types. The combination of IMFINZI and tremelimumab is being tested in lung cancer, bladder cancer and liver cancer settings.
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 Stage IV NSCLC
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 Patients are commonly diagnosed at Stage IV, when the tumor has spread outside of the lung. 2
Lung cancer is broadly split into NSCLC and SCLC, with 80-85% classified as NSCLC. 2,3 Within NSCLC, patients are classified as squamous, representing 25-30% of patients, or non-squamous, the most common type representing approximately 70-75% of NSCLC patients. 2 Stage IV is the most advanced form of lung cancer and is often referred to as metastatic disease. 4
The POSEIDON trial was a randomized, open-label, multi-center, global, Phase III trial of IMFINZI plus platinum-based chemotherapy or IMFINZI, tremelimumab and chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone in the 1st-line treatment of 1,013 patients with metastatic NSCLC. The trial population included patients with either non-squamous or squamous disease and the full range of PD-L1 expression levels. POSEIDON excluded patients with certain epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations or anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusions.
In the experimental arms, patients were treated with a flat dose of 1,500mg of IMFINZI with up to four cycles of chemotherapy once every three weeks or IMFINZI and 75mg of tremelimumab with chemotherapy, followed by maintenance treatment with IMFINZI, or IMFINZI and one dose of tremelimumab on a once-every-four-weeks dosing schedule. In comparison, the control arm allowed up to six cycles of chemotherapy. Pemetrexed maintenance treatment was allowed in all arms in patients with non-squamous disease if given during the induction phase. Nearly all patients with non-squamous disease (95.5%) had pemetrexed and platinum, while the majority of patients with squamous disease receiving chemotherapy (88.3%) received gemcitabine and platinum.
Primary endpoints included PFS and OS for the IMFINZI plus chemotherapy arm. Key secondary endpoints included PFS and OS in the IMFINZI plus tremelimumab and chemotherapy arm. As both PFS endpoints were met for IMFINZI plus chemotherapy and IMFINZI, tremelimumab and chemotherapy, the prespecified statistical analysis plan allowed for testing OS in the IMFINZI plus tremelimumab and chemotherapy arm. The trial was conducted in more than 150 centers across 18 countries, including the US, Europe, South America, Asia and South Africa.
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 the unresectable Stage III NSCLC setting, IMFINZI is approved for the treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) based on the CASPIAN Phase III trial in the EU, US, Japan and many other countries around the world. IMFINZI is also 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.
Tremelimumab is a human monoclonal antibody and potential new medicine that targets the activity of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4). Tremelimumab blocks the activity of CTLA-4, contributing to T-cell activation, priming the immune response to cancer and fostering cancer cell death. Tremelimumab is being tested in a clinical trial program in combination with IMFINZI in NSCLC, SCLC, bladder cancer and liver cancer.
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.
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.
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