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AstraZeneca to launch Imfinzi in Korea next month
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2019.03.27 14:52
  • Updated 2019.03.27 15:45
  • comments 0

AstraZeneca said it would launch Imfinzi (ingredient: durvalumab), an immunotherapy to treat stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), in Korea starting in April

Professor Lee Dae-ho of the department of hemato-oncology at Asan Medical Center explains about AstraZeneca's Imfinzi, during a news conference at the Plaza Seoul on Wednesday.

As an injection inhibiting programmed death-ligand 1(PD-L1), Imfinzi received an indication for locally advanced, unresectable NSCLC in adults, whose disease has not progressed following platinum-based chemotherapy and radiation therapy (CRT).

In the U.S., AstraZeneca obtained the nod for Imfinzi in February as the first immunotherapy to be used for patients with unresectable tumors. It is the first such case in Korea, too. The company received approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in December last year.

The ministry approved the treatment after the company completed its phase-3 PACIFIC trial on Imfinzi. The immunotherapy offered more than 11 months of the median progression-free survival, compared to the placebo. Regardless of PD-L1, Imfinzi reduced the relative risk of disease progression or death by 48 percent in all patients, compared to the placebo.

“Unlike stage 4 NSCLC, stage 3 NSCLC is the last stage in which patients can receive a cure,” said Professor Lee Dae-ho of the department of hemato-oncology at Asan Medical Center. “However, there were no treatments aimed at prolonging the treatment period for the past 20 years.”

Imfinzi will give new hope to patients and medical workers as there is no proper treatment option except for periodic monitoring of disease progression after chemotherapy-radiation therapy, Lee added.

Professor Cho Byung-chul of the department of hemato-oncology at Severance Hospital also said, “Studies related to Imfinzi showed a meaningful improvement over the standard of care in all assessment indicators. The treatment will change the paradigm of NSCLC in the future.”

Based on the results of the study, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network also recommends a high level of use of Imfinzi with stage 3 NSCLC, Cho added.


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