The European Commission has widened the license for Boehringer’s non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) drug Giotrif, approving it as the first oral treatment option for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.

The approval was based on results from the LUX-Lung 8 trial, which demonstrated that the Giotrif (afatinib) – which is already approved for the treatment of EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC – reduced the risk of cancer progression by 19 percent, and also reduced the risk of death by 19 percent, when compared to Roche and Astellas’ Tarceva (erlotinib).

Dr Mehdi Shahidi, Medical Head, Solid Tumour Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim said: “Whilst there have been some recent and significant advances in the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, the intravenous administration and frequent visits to the hospital can be a challenge for patients often debilitated by this disease. In this context, we are pleased to offer an effective oral treatment option.”

Squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for around 20-30% of NSCLC cases, is associated with a poor prognosis, limited survival and symptoms like cough and dyspnoea. The median overall survival (OS) after diagnosis of advanced SqCC is around one year.