New analysis of late-stage data on Boehringer Ingelheim's novel drug nintedanib has reaffirmed its potential to improve overall survival in patients with a certain type of lung cancer.

Further analysis of findings from the Phase III LUME-Lung 1 trial, presented at the European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam, have shown that nintedanib provided a "significant and clinically relevant overall survival benefit" in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with adenocarcinoma histology.

According to BI, its drug - an oral triple angiokinase inhibitor targeting three receptors involved in angiogenesis and tumour growth - was able to extend survival by 2.3 months when added to the chemotherapy docetaxel.

In addition, the data demonstrated that the earlier adenocarcinoma patients failed first-line chemotherapy, the bigger the benefit that nintedanib provided, the firm said.

Data show that patients whose disease progressed within nine months of starting first-line treatment achieved a larger median overall survival benefit of 3 months (10.9 with nintedanib plus docetaxel versus 7.9 months with placebo plus docetaxel).

"Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of non-small cell lung cancer and as the majority of patients with an advanced stage of the disease will ultimately progress after initial therapy, effective second-line treatments are vital," noted Anders Mellemgaard, from the Department of Oncology at Herlev University Hospital, Copenhagen. 

"Recent treatment advances for this sizeable patient population have been limited, but we have reached an important milestone with nintedanib," he said.

The German drugmaker is currently preparing submissions to file the drug as second-line treatment around the world.