SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced that the global, randomized Phase III ALEX study met its primary endpoint and showed that Alecensa®(alectinib) as an initial (first-line) treatment significantly reduced the risk of disease worsening or death (progression-free survival, PFS) compared to crizotinib in people with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This is the second Phase III trial to show that Alecensa was superior as an initial treatment compared to crizotinib in this type of lung cancer. The safety profile of Alecensa was consistent with that observed in previous studies, with no new or unexpected adverse events.
“Our goal is to transform the standard of care and we are excited to share these results with the lung cancer community,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “As part of its Breakthrough Therapy Designation, we hope to bring Alecensa as an initial treatment for people with ALK-positive NSCLC as soon as possible and will discuss these data with global health authorities.”
Full data from the ALEX study will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting and submitted to global health authorities, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which in September 2016 granted Alecensa Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) for the treatment of people with advanced ALK-positive NSCLC who have not received prior treatment with an ALK inhibitor.
Alecensa was granted accelerated approval by the FDA in December 2015 for the treatment of people with ALK-positive NSCLC who have progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib. The ALEX study is part of the company’s commitment to convert the current accelerated approval of Alecensa in people with ALK-positive, metastatic NSCLC who have progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib to a full approval as an initial treatment.
ALK-positive NSCLC is a distinct form of lung cancer commonly diagnosed in younger people (median age 52). Approximately 54 percent of cases are found in women. ALK-positive NSCLC is also generally found in those with a light or non-smoking history.
About the ALEX study
ALEX (NCT02075840) is a randomized, multicenter, open-label Phase III study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Alecensa versus crizotinib in treatment-naïve people with ALK-positive NSCLC whose tumors were characterized as ALK-positive by the VENTANA ALK (D5F3) CDx Assay, a companion immunohistochemistry (IHC) test developed by Roche Tissue Diagnostics. People were randomized (1:1) to receive either Alecensa or crizotinib. The primary endpoint of the ALEX study is progression-free survival (PFS) as assessed by the investigator and secondary endpoints include: independent review committee (IRC)-assessed PFS, time to central nervous system (CNS) progression, objective response rate (ORR; as defined by RECIST criteria), duration of response, overall survival, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and safety. The multicenter study was conducted in 303 people across 161 sites in 31 countries.
About Lung Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that more than 222,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017, and NSCLC accounts for 85 percent of all lung cancers. It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of lung cancer diagnoses in the United States are made when the disease is in the advanced stages.
Alecensa is a kinase inhibitor approved for the treatment of people with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response (DOR). Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.
Important Safety Information
Everyone reacts differently to treatment with Alecensa. It’s important to know the most serious and most common side effects with Alecensa.
A doctor may lower the dose or stop treatment with Alecensa if any serious side effects occur. Patients taking Alecensa should contact their doctor right away if they have any of the following side effects.
Alecensa may cause serious side effects, including:
Liver problems (hepatotoxicity). Alecensa may cause liver injury. A doctor will do blood tests at least every 2 weeks for the first 3 months and as needed during treatment with Alecensa. Patients taking Alecensa should tell their doctor right away if they experience any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Feeling tired
- Feeling less hungry than usual
- Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
- Dark urine
- Itchy skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain on the right side of stomach area
- Bleeding or bruising more easily than normal
Lung problems. Alecensa may cause severe or life-threatening swelling (inflammation) of the lungs during treatment.
Symptoms may be similar to those symptoms from lung cancer. Patients taking Alecensa should tell their doctor right away if they have any new or worsening symptoms, including:
- Trouble breathing
- Shortness of breath
Slow heartbeat (bradycardia). Alecensa may cause very slow heartbeats that can be severe. A doctor will check a patient’s heart rate and blood pressure during treatment with Alecensa. Patients taking Alecensa should tell their doctor right away if they feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint during treatment with Alecensa. Patients taking Alecensa should tell their doctor if they take any heart or blood pressure medicines.
Muscle pain, tenderness, and weakness (myalgia). Muscle problems are common with Alecensa and can be severe. A doctor will do blood tests at least every 2 weeks for the first month and as needed during treatment with Alecensa. Patients taking Alecensa should tell their doctor right away if they have any new or worsening signs and symptoms of muscle problems, including unexplained muscle pain or muscle pain that does not go away, tenderness, or weakness.
Before taking Alecensa, patients should tell their doctor about all medical conditions, including if they:
- Have liver problems
- Have lung or breathing problems
- Have a slow heartbeat
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Alecensa can harm an unborn baby. Patients taking Alecensa should tell their doctor right away if they become pregnant during treatment with Alecensa or think they may be pregnant
- Women who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control during treatment with Alecensa and for one week after the final dose of Alecensa
- Men who have female partners that are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control during treatment with Alecensa and for three months after the final dose of Alecensa
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Alecensa passes into breast milk. A patient should not breastfeed during treatment with Alecensa and for one week after the final dose of Alecensa. Patients should talk with their doctor about the best way to feed their baby during this time.
Patients taking Alecensa should tell their doctor about all the medicines they take, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Patients taking Alecensa should avoid spending time in the sunlight during treatment with Alecensa and for seven days after the final dose of Alecensa. Patients taking Alecensa may burn more easily and get severe sunburns. Patients taking Alecensa should use sunscreen and lip balm with a SPF 50 or greater to help protect against sunburn.
The most common side effects of Alecensa include:
- Swelling in hands, feet, ankles, and eyelids
These are not all of the possible side effects of Alecensa. For more information, patients should ask their doctor or pharmacist. Patients should call their doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or http://www.fda.gov/medwatch. Patients and caregivers may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.
Please see additional Important Safety Information in full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information.
About Genentech in Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a major area of focus and investment for Genentech, and we are committed to developing new approaches, medicines and tests that can help people with this deadly disease. Our goal is to provide an effective treatment option for every person diagnosed with lung cancer. We currently have four approved medicines to treat certain kinds of lung cancer and more than 10 medicines being developed to target the most common genetic drivers of lung cancer or to boost the immune system to combat the disease.
Founded 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.