AstraZeneca Lung Cancer Pill Halves Risk of Death After Surgery

AstraZeneca Lung Cancer Pill Halves Risk of Death After Surgery
Photo: Bjoertvedt [via Wikimedia Commons]

The Facts

  • According to clinical trial data presented Sunday at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago, AstraZeneca's lung cancer drug cut the risk of dying from a specific form of the disease by 51%.

  • The late-stage study of the once-daily drug called Osimertinib, marketed under the name Tagrisso, showed that an estimated 88% of "non-small cell lung cancer" patients treated with the pill after surgery were alive at five years compared to 78% on placebo.


The Spin

Narrative A

These promising results could be the first step toward AstraZeneca's revolutionizing treatment for adults with this specific type of lung cancer. If the drug could help prevent lung cancer's progression to the brain, liver, and bones, it would undoubtedly be a game changer for millions of patients worldwide.

Narrative B

The medical community must wait for more data before getting too excited about this development. There are still significant side effects associated with Osimertinib, and even if it receives FDA approval, doctors will find it difficult to prescribe it if lung cancer patients are not screened for the specific genetic mutation. There's still a long way to go until it's time to celebrate victory against this deadly disease.

Nerd narrative

There's a 50% chance that there will be a breakthrough in the treatment of hard-to-treat cancers by August 2031, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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