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First Targeted Therapy for Subset of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Approved

May 21, 2021 • 2:52 pm CDT
(Vax Before Cancer)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of Rybrevant (amivantamab-vmjw) as the first treatment for adult patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors have specific types of genetic mutations: epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 20 insertion mutations.

The FDA's approval of Rybrevant was granted to Pennsylvania-based Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

“The approval of RYBREVANT, along with the companion diagnostic test, addresses a high unmet need in the treatment of people with genetically defined non-small cell lung cancer,” said Peter Lebowitz, M.D., Ph.D., Global Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology, Janssen Research & Development, LLC.

The FDA also approved the Guardant360 CDx (Guardant Health Inc.) as a companion diagnostic for Rybrevant.

“Advances in precision oncology continue to facilitate drug development, allowing diseases like lung cancer to be subset into biomarker-defined populations appropriate for targeted therapies,” commented Julia Beaver, M.D., chief of medical oncology in the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting deputy director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a press release.

“With today’s approval, for the first time, patients with non-small cell lung cancer with EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations will have a targeted treatment option.”

Researchers evaluated Rybrevant’s efficacy in a study of 81 patients with non-small cell lung cancer and EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations whose disease had progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy.

The main outcome measured was the overall response rate (proportion of patients whose tumor is destroyed or reduced by a drug). In the trial population in which all patients received Rybrevant, the overall response rate was 40%. The median duration of response was 11.1 months, with 63% of patients had a duration of 6 months or more.

The most common side effects of Rybrevant include rash, infusion-related reactions, skin infections around the fingernails or toenails, muscle and joint pain, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, swelling in the lower legs or hands or face, sores in the mouth, cough, constipation, vomiting, and changes in certain blood tests. Rybrevant should be withheld if patients develop symptoms of interstitial lung disease and permanently discontinued if interstitial lung disease is confirmed.

Patients taking Rybrevant should limit sun exposure during and for two months after treatment. Rybrevant may cause problems with vision. Rybrevant can also cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman; therefore, the pregnancy status of females of reproductive potential should be confirmed before treatment is started.

Rybrevant received Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy designation for this indication.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the most common cancer type and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, with non-small cell lung cancer accounting for 80% to 85% of all lung cancers. Approximately 2% to 3% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer will have EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations, a group of mutations on a protein that causes rapid cell growth, and consequently, helps cancer spread. EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations are the third most common type of EGFR mutation.

This review was conducted under Project Orbis, an initiative of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence. 

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