AstraZeneca has begun late-stage trials of its investigative MEK inhibitor selumetinib as a potential treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer.  

The Phase III study will evaluate selumetinib plus docetaxel as a second line therapy in locally advanced or metastatic KRAS mutation-positive NSCLC. The trial, which is designed to evaluate progression-free and overall survival, will be the largest prospective study ever conducted in this patient population, AstraZeneca says, looking at a genetic sub-type of lung cancer associated with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. The SELECT-1 trial will include 220 centres and enroll 634 patients

The decision to move into Phase III followed positive results from a Phase II study evaluating the selumetinib/docetaxel combo against the latter alone. The findings translated into a statistically significant improvement in PFS of 5.3 vs 2.1 months.

AstraZeneca acquired exclusive worldwide rights to selumetinib from Array BioPharma in 2003. It is also in Phase II trials for thyroid cancer, while a further Phase II study in patients with metastatic uveal melanoma is planned to start in late 2013.