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AstraZeneca's head and neck cancer treatment Imfinzi falls flat in Phase III trials

Published on 07/12/18 at 09:29am

AstraZeneca’s immunotherapy treatment Imfinzi has failed to meet its primary goal in treating head and neck cancer in the Phase III EAGLE trial.

The Anglo-Swedish multinational’s drug did not improve overall survival compared with standard-of-care chemotherapy in patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) who experienced disease progression following platinum-based chemotherapy, regardless of their PD-L1 tumour status.

The EAGLE trial was conducted across169 sites in 24 different countries which include the U.S., Europe, South America, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Israel and Australia.

The results come after Imfinzi failed to improve survival in patients with advanced forms of lung cancer. However the treatment had been approved previously, for use in earlier stage lung cancer. It was hoped that the drug would generate more than $2.5 billion in sales from 2022.  

Sean Bohen, Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer, commented: “The prognosis for recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell cancer is very poor and new treatments for this group of cancers are urgently needed. While these results are disappointing, we remain committed to evaluating the potential of Imfinzi and other innovative medicines for patients with head and neck cancer. We look forward to seeing the results of the Phase III KESTREL trial of Imfinzi and tremelimumab in patients who have not received prior chemotherapy for recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in the first half of 2019.”

Louis Goss

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