AstraZeneca has announced that its monoclonal antibody, Imfinzi (durvalumab), was found to improve overall survival at interim analysis in the Phase III CASPIAN trial in 1st-line extensive-stage small cell lung cancer.

The results are incredibly important in this area of significant unmet need, as limited treatment options are available for patients with this most aggressive type of lung cancer.

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 tumour's immune-evading tactics and releasing the inhibition of immune responses.

A planned interim analysis conducted by an Independent Data Monitoring Committee concluded that the trial has met its primary endpoint by showing a statistically-significant and clinically-meaningful improvement in overall when in combination with standard-of-care, etoposide, and platinum-based chemotherapy options, compared to chemotherapy alone.

José Baselga, executive vice president, Oncology R&D said that the results “offer new hope for patients who are facing the devastating diagnosis of small cell lung cancer, and for whom new medicines are urgently needed. This is the first trial offering the flexibility of combining immunotherapy with different platinum-based regimens in small cell lung cancer, expanding treatment options.”

The drug is also being tested following concurrent chemoradiation therapy in limited-stage SCLC in the Phase III ADRIATIC trial, and is approved for unresectable, stage III non-small cell lung cancer in more than 45 countries.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women and accounts for about one-fifth of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer is broadly split into NSCLC and SCLC, with about 15% classified as SCLC, and about two-thirds of SCLC patients are diagnosed with extensive-stage disease.