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Novartis’ Zykadia Granted Expanded Approval for First-Line Treatment of ALK-Positive NSCLC

Basel, May 26, 2017 Novartis today announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the expanded use of Zykadia® (ceritinib) to include the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors are anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive, as detected by an FDA-approved test. Zykadia first received accelerated approval in 2014 for patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC who progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib. In January 2017, the FDA granted Zykadia Breakthrough Therapy designation for the first-line treatment of patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC with metastases to the brain, and Priority Review for first-line ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC.

The first-line approval of Zykadia is based on results from an open-label, randomized, multicenter, global, Phase III trial, ASCEND-4. The study demonstrated that patients treated with first-line Zykadia had a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 16.6 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12.6, 27.2), compared to 8.1 months (95% CI: 5.8, 11.1) for patients treated with standard first-line pemetrexed-platinum chemotherapy with pemetrexed maintenance[1].

Overall intracranial response rate (OIRR) in patients with measurable brain metastases was 57% (95% CI: 37, 76; n = 28) for patients treated with Zykadia, versus 22% (95% CI: 9, 42; n = 27) for patients treated with chemotherapy[1]. The whole body overall response rate (ORR) was 73% (95% CI: 66, 79; n = 187) in patients treated with Zykadia[1].

“Today’s approval represents the next step in the development of Zykadia as a treatment option for ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC, bringing this important medication to a patient population where a need still exists,” said Bruno Strigini, CEO, Novartis Oncology. “At Novartis, we are tireless in our pursuit of developing novel medicines to treat lung cancer, and the first-line approval of Zykadia for ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC illustrates our commitment to cancer patients.”

Approximately 3-7% of all patients with NSCLC have an ALK gene rearrangement[2]. An FDA-approved test at the time of diagnosis may help to determine the presence of this mutation and, thus, the most appropriate treatment option[3].

Novartis Commitment to Lung Cancer
Worldwide, lung cancer causes more deaths than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined, and an estimated 1.8 million new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year[4],[5]. Among patients with NSCLC, roughly 25% have an actionable mutation that may be targeted with available therapies[6].

Over the past decade, Novartis Oncology’s research has supported the evolution of treatment approaches for patients living with mutation-driven types of lung cancer. The company continues its commitment to the global lung cancer community through ongoing studies, as well as the exploration of investigational compounds that target genomic biomarkers in NSCLC.

About ASCEND-4
ASCEND-4 is a Phase III randomized, open-label, multicenter, global clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Zykadia compared to standard chemotherapy, including maintenance, in adult patients with Stage IIIB or IV ALK-positive advanced NSCLC who received no prior therapy for their advanced disease. Patients received Zykadia orally at 750 mg/daily or standard pemetrexed-based platinum doublet chemotherapy (pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 plus cisplatin 75 mg/m2 or carboplatin AUC 5-6) for four cycles followed by pemetrexed maintenance.

Of 376 patients, 189 (59 with brain metastases) were randomized to Zykadia and 187 (62 with brain metastases) to chemotherapy[1]. Approximately 70% of patients with measurable brain metastases at baseline did not have prior radiation therapy, the current standard of treatment for baseline brain metastases[1]. Among patients randomized to the chemotherapy arm, 43% received Zykadia as their next treatment after platinum-based chemotherapy[1].

Patients treated with first-line Zykadia had a median PFS of 16.6 months (95% CI: 12.6, 27.2), compared to 8.1 months (95% CI: 5.8, 11.1) for patients treated with standard first-line pemetrexed-platinum chemotherapy with pemetrexed maintenance[1]. A 45% risk reduction in PFS was obtained in the Zykadia arm compared to the chemotherapy arm (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.55 [95% CI: 0.42, 0.73; one-sided p value <0.0001])[1].

Patients without brain metastases at screening receiving Zykadia experienced a median PFS of 26.3 months (95% CI: 15.4, 27.7), compared with 8.3 months (95% CI: 6.0, 13.7) among patients treated with chemotherapy (HR = 0.48 [95% CI: 0.33, 0.69])[7]. Among patients with brain metastases at screening, the median PFS was 10.7 months (95% CI: 8.1, 16.4) in the Zykadia group versus 6.7 months (95% CI: 4.1, 10.6) in the chemotherapy group (HR = 0.70 [95% CI: 0.44, 1.12])[7].

The most common adverse reactions in ASCEND-4 (incidence >=25% all grades) were diarrhea (85%), nausea (69%), vomiting (67%), fatigue (45%), abdominal pain (40%), decreased appetite (34%) and cough (25%)[1].  In ASCEND-4, Grade 3/4 adverse reactions (incidence >=2%) were fatigue (7%), vomiting (5%), diarrhea (4.8%), abdominal pain (3.7%), weight loss (3.7%), nausea (2.6%) and prolonged QT interval (2.6%)[1]. The most common laboratory abnormalities in ASCEND-4 (incidence >=25% all grades) were increased ALT/AST (91%/86%), increased GGT (84%), increased alkaline phosphatase (81%), creatinine increase (77%), anemia (67%), hyperglycemia (53%), decreased phosphate (38%), increased amylase (37%) and neutropenia (27%)[1]. In ASCEND-4, Grade 3/4 laboratory abnormalities (incidence >=2%) were increased GGT (49%), ALT/AST (34%/21%), increased alkaline phosphatase (12%), hyperglycemia (10%), increased amylase (8%), increase lipase (6%), creatinine increase (4.2%), anemia (4.2%), decreased phosphate (3.7%) and neutropenia (2.1%)[1].

About Zykadia
Zykadia is an oral, selective inhibitor of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), a gene that can fuse with others to form an abnormal “fusion protein” that promotes the development and growth of certain tumors in cancers including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Zykadia is currently approved in over 69 countries worldwide. Please visit https://www.hcp.novartis.com/products/zykadia/(link is external) for additional information.

Zykadia Important Safety Information
Zykadia may cause serious side effects.

Zykadia may cause stomach upset and intestinal problems in most patients, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and stomach-area pain. These problems can be severe. Patients should follow their doctor’s instructions about taking medicines to help these symptoms, and should call their doctor for advice if symptoms are severe or do not go away.

Zykadia may cause severe liver injury. Patients should have blood tests prior to the start of treatment with Zykadia, every two weeks for the first month of treatment and monthly thereafter, and should talk to their doctor right away if they experience any of the following symptoms: tiredness (fatigue), itchy skin, yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes, nausea or vomiting, decreased appetite, pain on the right side of the abdomen, urine turns dark or brown, or bleeding or bruising more easily than normal.

Zykadia may cause severe or life-threatening swelling (inflammation) of the lungs during treatment that can lead to death. Symptoms may be similar to those symptoms from lung cancer. Patients should tell their doctor right away about any new or worsening symptoms, including trouble breathing or shortness of breath, fever, cough, with or without mucous, or chest pain.

Zykadia may cause very slow, very fast, or abnormal heartbeats. Doctors should check their patient’s heart during treatment with Zykadia. Patients should tell their doctor right away if they feel new chest pain or discomfort, dizziness or lightheadedness, faint, or have abnormal heartbeats, blue discoloration of lips, shortness of breath, swelling of lower limbs or skin, or if they start to take or have any changes in heart or blood pressure medicines.

Zykadia may cause high levels of glucose in the blood. People who have diabetes or glucose intolerance, or who take a corticosteroid medicine have an increased risk of high blood sugar with Zykadia. Patients should have glucose blood tests prior to the start of treatment with Zykadia and during treatment. Patients should follow their doctor’s instructions about blood sugar monitoring and call their doctor right away with any symptoms of high blood sugar, including increased thirst and/or urinating often.

Zykadia may cause high levels of pancreatic enzymes in the blood and may cause pancreatitis. Patients should have blood tests prior to the start of treatment with Zykadia and as needed during their treatment with Zykadia. Patients should talk to their doctor if they experience signs and symptoms of pancreatitis which including upper abdominal pain that may spread to the back and get worse with eating.

Before patients take Zykadia, they should tell their doctor about all medical conditions, including liver problems; diabetes or high blood sugar; heart problems, including a condition called long QT syndrome; if they are pregnant, if they think they may be pregnant, or if they plan to become pregnant; are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Zykadia may harm unborn babies. Women who are able to become pregnant must use a highly effective method of birth control (contraception) during treatment with Zykadia and up to 3 months after stopping Zykadia.  Patients and their doctor should decide whether to take Zykadia or breastfeed, but should not do both.

Patients should tell their doctor about medicines they take, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

The most common adverse reactions with an incidence of >=10% diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, liver laboratory test abnormalities, fatigue, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, weight decreased constipation, blood creatinine increased, rash, anemia, and esophageal disorder.      Grade 3-4 adverse reactions with an incidence of >=5% were fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, and prolonged QT Interval.

Patients should stop taking Zykadia and seek medical help immediately if they experience any of the following, which may be signs of an allergic reaction:

  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Severe itching of the skin, with a red rash or raised bumps

Patients should tell their doctor of any side effect that bothers them or does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of Zykadia. For more information, patients should ask their doctor or pharmacist.

Patients should take Zykadia exactly as their health care provider tells them. Patients should not change their dose or stop taking Zykadia unless their health care provider advises them to. Zykadia should be taken once a day on an empty stomach. Patients should not eat for at least 2 hours before and 1 hour after taking Zykadia. If a dose of Zykadia is missed, they should take it as soon as they remember. If their next dose is due within the next 12 hours, they should skip the missed dose and take the next dose at their regular time. They should not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose. Patients should not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit during treatment with Zykadia, as it may make the amount of Zykadia in their blood increase to a harmful level. If patients have to vomit after swallowing Zykadia capsules, they should not take more capsules until their next scheduled dose.

Please see full Prescribing Information for Zykadia.

About Novartis
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 118,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis at http://twitter.com/novartis(link is external) and @NovartisCancer at http://twitter.com/novartiscancer.  (link is external)

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References

[1] Zykadia® (ceritinib) Full Prescribing Information.
[2] Lovly, C., L. Horn, W. Pao. 2016. Molecular Profiling of Lung Cancer. My Cancer Genome. https://www.mycancergenome.org/content/disease/lung-cancer/(link is external). (Updated March 28). Accessed March 22, 2017.
[3] Lindeman, N.I., et al. Molecular Testing Guideline for Selection of Lung Cancer Patients for EGFR and ALK Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2013; 137: 828-1174.
[4] World Health Organization. International Agency for Research on Cancer. GLOBOCAN 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012. Lung Cancer. Available at http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_cancer.aspx?cancer=lung(link is external). Accessed March 22, 2017.
[5] Riess JW, Wakelee, HA. Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Management: Novel Targets and Recent Clinical Advances. Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology. 2012; 10: 226-224.
[6] Korpanty, G.J., et al. Biomarkers that currently affect clinical practice in lung cancer: EGFR, ALK, MET, ROS-1, and KRAS. Frontiers in Oncology. 2014; 4: 204.
[7] Soria JC, et al. First-line ceritinib versus platinum-based chemotherapy in advanced ALK-rearranged non-small-cell lung cancer (ASCEND-4): A randomized, open-label Phase 3 study. The Lancet. 2017; 389(10072):917-929.

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