You are currently viewing Groundbreaking Global Study: Daily Pill Slashes Lung Cancer Death Risk by 50%

Groundbreaking Global Study: Daily Pill Slashes Lung Cancer Death Risk by 50%

June 8, 2023 | By Kali Girl

In a thrilling and unprecedented decade-long global study, researchers have discovered that taking a once-a-day pill can significantly reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer, reports The Guardian.

The drug, osimertinib, when taken after surgery, demonstrated a remarkable 51% decrease in the mortality rate among patients. These groundbreaking results were unveiled at the prestigious American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (Asco) annual meeting in Chicago, led by Yale University.

“Thirty years ago, there was nothing we could do for these patients,” said Dr Roy Herbst, the deputy director of Yale Cancer Center and lead author of the study. “Now we have this potent drug. “Fifty per cent is a big deal in any disease, but certainly in a disease like lung cancer, which has typically been very resistant to therapies.”

In a global trial conducted across 26 countries, the Adaura study explored the potential benefits of a pill for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the most prevalent type of the disease.

Participants, aged 30 to 86, were all afflicted with an EGFR gene mutation, which is present in around a quarter of lung cancer cases worldwide. In Asia, this mutation accounts for up to 40% of cases, with a higher occurrence among women and individuals who are non-smokers or have a history of light smoking.

Herbst urges for a crucial change in practice following the study’s revelations, stressing the need to extend EGFR mutation testing to all lung cancer patients. “This further reinforces the need to identify these patients with available biomarkers at the time of diagnosis and before treatment begins.”

Osimertinib, the daily pill, has shown remarkable results in extending the lives of patients. After five years, a staggering 88% of patients who took the pill following tumor removal were still alive, whereas only 78% of those who received a placebo survived.

Overall, there was a significant 51% lower risk of death among those who received osimertinib compared to the placebo group. 

In the trial, approximately 682 patients participated, with around two-thirds of them being women. Interestingly, a similar two-thirds of the patients had no previous smoking history. This observation indicates that the pill demonstrates efficacy for both smokers and non-smokers diagnosed with lung cancer.

Angela Terry, the chair of EGFR Positive UK, a lung cancer charity said, “A five-year overall survival rate of 88% is incredibly positive news,” she said. “Having access to a drug whose efficacy is proven and whose side-effects are tolerable means patients can be confident of and able to enjoy a good quality of life for longer.”

Leave a Reply