AstraZeneca Drug Fails in Mesothelioma Monotherapy Study

Hope remains for its use in combination

Tremelimumab, one of AstraZeneca's top drug prospects, has failed to improve survival in mesothelioma patients in its phase 2b trial, FierceBiotech reports. The drug has recently shown promise in combination with durvalumab for treatment of non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

MedImmune, an AstraZeneca subsidiary, conducted the trial with 571 patients, but the drug failed to hit its primary endpoint of overall survival.

AstraZeneca is now likely to concentrate on combination studies including tremelimumab. The company is conducting combination studies for NSCLC, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, bladder, pancreatic, gastric, and liver cancers.

“We are disappointed that tremelimumab monotherapy did not demonstrate a survival benefit in this patient population with no approved medicines beyond first-line treatment,” said Robert Iannone, AstraZeneca's Head of Immuno-Oncology. “However, we remain confident in tremelimumab's clinical activity in combination, as shown in our recently published Study 006 trial of tremelimumab and durvalumab in non–small-cell lung cancer.”

Tremelimumab, an investigational, selective human antibody directed against cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (CTLA-4), “releases the brakes” on T-cell activation and boosts the immune response against cancer cells. In 2015, tremelimumab was granted fast track and orphan drug designations by the FDA as a potential treatment for malignant mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and abdomen.

Source: FierceBiotech; February 29, 2016.