RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- According to responses from U.S. oncologists that participated in a global survey, in more than one-third (38%) of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), treatment decisions are made without knowing their epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) genetic mutation status. The findings of the survey were presented today as a late-breaking abstract (LBA ID #6067 #P3.02b) at the 2016 World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Vienna, Austria.
The survey results revealed an overall high rate of EGFR mutation testing in the U.S. prior to determining first-line treatment, with 77% of NSCLC patients evaluated, slightly higher than that seen in 2015's inaugural survey (76%). Survey results in Europe and Asia demonstrated even higher rates of testing, with rates of 81% and 84%, respectively. However, despite high rates of testing, nearly one quarter (23%) of patients wait for more than two weeks to receive their results, causing many to forego targeted therapy and start standard treatment like chemotherapy immediately.
Compared to 2015, the proportion of patients tested that started first-line treatment prior to receiving their results decreased slightly (26% in 2015; 22% in 2016). Despite this trend, the percentage of surveyed oncologists who consider mutation subtype when making treatment decisions rose from 40% in 2015 to 47% in 2016.
"Physicians increasingly recognize the value of performing biomarker testing and using the results to inform treatment decisions, yet that understanding is not translating into practice, as a significant proportion of patients start first-line therapy without receiving the results of the testing," said Edward Kim, M.D., Levine Cancer Institute, Carolinas HealthCare System. "It is important to assimilate the findings from this survey and consider changes in clinical practice so that patients for whom targeted treatment may be appropriate get the treatment they need to fight this devastating disease."
U.S. oncologists who do not conduct EGFR mutation status testing (23%) cite the following reasons: insufficient/not enough tissue (57%), the patient's overall health status (45%) and tumor histology (43%). Notably, 23% of U.S. physicians cited long turnaround time or patients' desire to start treatment immediately as reasons for not carrying out the test.
International guidelines recommend that EGFR mutation testing be performed at diagnosis in patients with advanced stage NSCLC, and results should guide treatment decisions to ensure patients receive therapies relevant to their cancer and mutation type. When asked for the most important factor in making treatment decisions, more than half (54%) of U.S. oncologists surveyed identified a clinically relevant increase in overall survival as the critical element. Seventeen percent responded that a clinically relevant increase in progression-free survival (delay in tumor growth) was most important, and 10% indicated a clinically meaningful overall response rate (decrease in tumor size).
NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer. Ten to 15% of Caucasian and up to 50% of Asian patients with NSCLC have a subtype of the disease known as EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC. The most common types of EGFR mutation are exon 19 deletions (Del19) and the exon 21 (L858R) substitution.
About the Survey
Sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, the survey included 707 physicians in 11 countries (Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, UK, USA), with the goal of identifying year-over-year trends related to EGFR mutation testing rates and treatment practices in NSCLC, compared to an inaugural survey conducted in 2015.
About Boehringer Ingelheim in Oncology
Boehringer Ingelheim's oncology research is driven by a passion to advance clinical practice and a determination to improve the lives of patients who are battling cancer. Through our own scientific innovation and partnerships, we are focused on discovering and providing novel best-in-class, breakthrough cancer medications that fit the needs of patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. We have a clear strategy to become a leader in the field of lung cancer. Boehringer Ingelheim has successfully launched two products globally for NSCLC that have been widely adopted and established as valuable additions to current clinical practice. Continuous insights and learnings from research and development are key parts of innovation and our way forward to advance clinical practice in lung cancer and other cancer types.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation.
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