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Alecensa Approved as First-Line Treatment for People With Specific Type of Lung Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the supplemental New Drug Application for Alecensa® (alectinib) for the treatment of people with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as detected by an FDA-approved test.

The approval is based on results from the Phase III ALEX study, which showed Alecensa significantly reduced the risk of disease worsening or death (progression-free survival, PFS) by 47 percent (HR=0.53, 95 percent CI: 0.38, 0.73, p<0.0001) compared to crizotinib as assessed by independent review committee (IRC). Median PFS was 25.7 months (95 percent CI: 19.9, not estimable) for people who received Alecensa compared with 10.4 months (95 percent CI: 7.7, 14.6) for people who received crizotinib. The safety profile of Alecensa was consistent with that observed in previous studies.

The study also showed that Alecensa significantly reduced the risk of the cancer spreading to or growing in the brain or central nervous system (CNS) compared to crizotinib by 84 percent (HR=0.16, 95 percent CI: 0.10, 0.28, p<0.0001). This was based on a time to CNS progression analysis in which there was a lower risk of progression in the CNS as the first site of disease progression for people who received Alecensa (12 percent) compared to people who received crizotinib (45 percent).

“Our goal is to develop medicines that have the potential to significantly improve upon the standard of care,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “In our pivotal study, Alecensa significantly extended the time that people lived without their disease worsening compared to crizotinib and also showed a marked reduction in the risk of their cancer spreading to the brain.”

“ALK-positive lung cancer is often found in younger people, who tend to have more advanced disease at the time of diagnosis, and comes with a unique set of challenges,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a lung cancer survivor and founder of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF). “We applaud advancements in care, like the approval of Alecensa, which provides a new initial treatment option for people with this type of lung cancer.”

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