Novartis today announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the expanded use of Zykadia (ceritinib) to include the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors are anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive, as detected by an FDA-approved test. Zykadia first received accelerated approval in 2014 for patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC who progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib. In January 2017, the FDA granted Zykadia Breakthrough Therapy designation for the first-line treatment of patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC with metastases to the brain, and Priority Review for first-line ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC.
The first-line approval of Zykadia is based on results from an open-label, randomized, multicenter, global, Phase III trial, ASCEND-4. The study demonstrated that patients treated with first-line Zykadia had a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 16.6 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12.6, 27.2), compared to 8.1 months (95% CI: 5.8, 11.1) for patients treated with standard first-line pemetrexed-platinum chemotherapy with pemetrexed maintenance.
Overall intracranial response rate (OIRR) in patients with measurable brain metastases was 57% (95% CI: 37, 76; n = 28) for patients treated with Zykadia, versus 22% (95% CI: 9, 42; n = 27) for patients treated with chemotherapy. The whole body overall response rate (ORR) was 73% (95% CI: 66, 79; n = 187) in patients treated with Zykadia.
"Today's approval represents the next step in the development of Zykadia as a treatment option for ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC, bringing this important medication to a patient population where a need still exists," said Bruno Strigini, CEO, Novartis Oncology. "At Novartis, we are tireless in our pursuit of developing novel medicines to treat lung cancer, and the first-line approval of Zykadia for ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC illustrates our commitment to cancer patients."
Approximately 3-7% of all patients with NSCLC have an ALK gene rearrangement. An FDA-approved test at the time of diagnosis may help to determine the presence of this mutation and, thus, the most appropriate treatment option.
Novartis Commitment to Lung Cancer
Worldwide, lung cancer causes more deaths than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined, and an estimated 1.8 million new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year. Among patients with NSCLC, roughly 25% have an actionable mutation that may be targeted with available therapies.
Over the past decade, Novartis Oncology's research has supported the evolution of treatment approaches for patients living with mutation-driven types of lung cancer. The company continues its commitment to the global lung cancer community through ongoing studies, as well as the exploration of investigational compounds that target genomic biomarkers in NSCLC.