AstraZeneca’s Fasenra (benralizumab) significantly reduced the size of nasal polyps and cut nasal blockage in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis, raising hopes for a new treatment option for this condition.

In the Phase III OSTRO trial, Fasenra showed a statistically significant improvement in the endoscopic total nasal polyp score (NPS) and the nasal blockage score (NBS) compared to placebo, in patients with severe bilateral nasal polyposis who were still symptomatic despite continued treatment with standard of care, the firm said.

Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) is an inflammatory disease linked with elevated levels of eosinophils in the upper respiratory tract and characterised by benign growths called nasal polyps, which can cause blockage and discharge, reduction or loss in the sense of smell, sleep disturbances and other adverse effects on quality of life.

The condition “is difficult to treat and the underlying drivers and natural history of the disease are not fully established,” noted Professor Claus Bachert, head of the Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and chair of the Upper Airway Research Laboratory, University Hospital Ghent, Belgium, the principal investigator of the trial.

“The OSTRO results show that Fasenra’s eosinophil-depleting mechanism of action may benefit patients with this often debilitating condition.”

“Current treatments, such as intranasal or oral corticosteroids and surgery to remove polyps, do not fully address patient needs,” added Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, BioPharmaceuticals R&D. “The OSTRO data indicate Fasenra can benefit patients with nasal polyps.”

Fasenra is currently approved as an add-on maintenance treatment for severe eosinophilic asthma in the US, EU, Japan and other countries and is approved for self-administration in the US, EU and other countries.