Delaware Public Media

FDA approves new AstraZeneca lung cancer drug

Mar 31, 2017

Federal regulators have signed off on one of AstraZeneca’s most promising cancer drugs for use in the United States.


The Food and Drug Administration gave the green light to Tagrisso Friday after clinical trials showed that it was more than twice as effective as chemotherapy with fewer side effects.


Tagrisso targets non-small cell lung cancer, which makes up about 85 percent of all cases of the disease.


The median of patients studied in trials lived cancer free for about 10 months after taking the once-daily pill compared to about 4.5 months for those who underwent chemotherapy.


Tagrisso works by blocking the neural pathways that spur tumor growth. About two-thirds of patients develop a resistance to current drugs on the market that target those same pathways.


Lung cancer is the most deadly form of the disease for both men and women, accounting for a quarter of all cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.


Last year, AstraZeneca earned nearly $425 million in sales from Tagrisso worldwide – or about two percent of the company’s total revenue for 2016.