FDA and EMA accept regulatory applications for Boehringer Ingelheim's Gilotrif® (afatinib) for treatment of advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung

- Regulatory submissions are based on positive data from LUX-Lung 8 study that showed a significant delay in progression of lung cancer (progression-free survival, primary endpoint) and a significant improvement in overall survival for Gilotrif compared to Tarceva (erlotinib)(1)

- LUX-Lung 8 is a large, prospective Phase III head-to-head trial that compared two EGFR-directed treatments in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung, progressing after treatment with first-line chemotherapy

- Afatinib has also been granted orphan drug designation by the FDA - a status given to a product intended for the treatment of a rare disease or condition

Aug 25, 2015, 08:00 ET from Boehringer Ingelheim

RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Boehringer Ingelheim today announced that both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have accepted filing applications for afatinib for the treatment of patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung progressing after treatment with first-line chemotherapy.1 Afatinib has also been granted orphan drug designation by the FDA – a status given to a product intended for the treatment of a rare disease or condition.

Dr. Jörg Barth, Corporate Senior Vice President, Therapy Area Head Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim commented: "Working with the US and EU regulatory authorities marks the next stage in our journey to hopefully provide patients with a new, oral treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, a condition with an extremely poor prognosis. This is an encouraging prospect for Boehringer Ingelheim, as we remain fully dedicated to improving and extending the lives of patients with different types of lung cancer."

The submissions are based on data from the Phase III LUX-Lung 8 trial that compared Gilotrif® (afatinib) to Tarceva® (erlotinib) in patients with advanced SCC of the lung progressing after treatment with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Data from the trial showed that treatment with afatinib resulted in superior progression-free survival (PFS, primary endpoint), reducing the risk of cancer progression by 19%, and superior overall survival (OS, key secondary endpoint), reducing the risk of death by 19% compared to erlotinib in this patient population.1 

In the LUX-Lung 8 trial, an improvement in quality of life and control of cancer symptoms was observed with afatinib versus erlotinib.1 More patients had improved overall health-related quality-of-life with afatinib than with erlotinib (36% vs. 28%).1 Significantly more patients had an improvement in cough with afatinib than with erlotinib (43% vs. 35%).1 Differences in the proportion of patients with improved dyspnea (51% vs. 44%) and pain (40% vs. 39%) were not significant for afatinib versus erlotinib.1 Afatinib significantly delayed time to deterioration of dyspnea compared with erlotinib.1 Time to deterioration of both pain and cough was similar for afatinib versus erlotinib.1

The rate of severe adverse events was similar between the two treatment arms with differences observed in the incidence of certain side effects.1 A higher incidence of severe diarrhea and stomatitis (mouth sores) was observed with afatinib compared to erlotinib (grade 3 diarrhea: 10% vs. 2%; grade 3 stomatitis: 4% vs. 0%), while a higher incidence of severe rash/acne was reported with erlotinib compared to afatinib (grade 3 rash/acne: 10% vs. 6%).

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common form of lung cancer comprising over 85% of lung cancer cases.2,3 Squamous cell lung cancer develops in the cells lining the airways and represents approximately 30% of NSCLC cases.4,5 SCC of the lung is associated with a poor prognosis and limited survival. The median OS after diagnosis of advanced SCC is around one year.6,7

Afatinib, an oral, once daily EGFR-directed therapy, is currently approved in more than 60 countries for the first-line treatment of specific types of EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC (under brand names: Gilotrif® / Giotrif®). Approval of afatinib in this indication was based on the primary endpoint of PFS from the LUX-Lung 3 clinical trial where afatinib significantly delayed tumor growth when compared to standard chemotherapy.8 In addition, afatinib is the first treatment to show an OS benefit for patients with specific types of EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC compared to chemotherapy.9 A significant OS benefit was demonstrated independently in the LUX-Lung 3 and 6 trials for patients with the most common EGFR mutation (exon 19 deletions; del19) compared to chemotherapy.9

About Gilotrif® (afatinib) tablets
GILOTRIF is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 19 deletions or exon 21 (L858R) substitution mutations as detected by an FDA-approved test.

Limitation of Use: Safety and efficacy of GILOTRIF have not been established in patients whose tumors have other EGFR mutations.

GILOTRIF is an oral, once-daily kinase inhibitor that is designed to irreversibly bind and inhibit the following receptors: EGFR (ErbB1), HER2 (ErbB2) and ErbB4.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Diarrhea

  • Diarrhea has resulted in dehydration with or without renal impairment; some of these cases were fatal. In the pivotal study, diarrhea occurred in 96% of patients treated with GILOTRIF (n=229), of which 15% was Grade 3 in severity and occurred within the first 6 weeks. Renal impairment as a consequence of diarrhea occurred in 6.1% of patients treated with GILOTRIF, out of which 3 (1.3%) were Grade 3.
  • For patients who develop prolonged Grade 2 diarrhea lasting more than 48 hours or greater than or equal to Grade 3 diarrhea, withhold GILOTRIF until diarrhea resolves to Grade 1 or less, and resume GILOTRIF with appropriate dose reduction. Provide patients with an anti-diarrheal agent (e.g., loperamide) for self-administration at the onset of diarrhea and instruct patients to continue anti-diarrheal therapy until loose bowel movements cease for 12 hours.

Bullous and Exfoliative Skin Disorders

  • Grade 3 cutaneous reactions characterized by bullous, blistering, and exfoliating lesions occurred in 6 (0.15%) of the 3865 patients who received GILOTRIF across clinical trials. In the pivotal study, the overall incidence of cutaneous reactions consisting of rash, erythema, and acneiform rash was 90%, and the incidence of Grade 3 cutaneous reactions was 16%. In addition, the incidence of Grade 1-3 palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome was 7%. Discontinue GILOTRIF in patients who develop life-threatening bullous, blistering, or exfoliating lesions. For patients who develop prolonged Grade 2 cutaneous adverse reactions lasting more than 7 days, intolerable Grade 2, or Grade 3 cutaneous reactions, withhold GILOTRIF until the adverse reaction resolves to Grade 1 or less, and resume GILOTRIF with appropriate dose reduction.

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)

  • ILD or ILD-like adverse reactions (e.g., lung infiltration, pneumonitis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or alveolitis allergic) occurred in 1.5% of the 3865 patients who received GILOTRIF across clinical trials; of these, 0.4% were fatal. The incidence of ILD appeared to be higher in patients of Asian ethnicity (2.1%) as compared to non-Asians (1.2%). In the pivotal study, the incidence of Grade ≥3 ILD was 1.3% and resulted in death in 1% of GILOTRIF-treated patients.
  • Withhold GILOTRIF during evaluation of patients with suspected ILD, and discontinueGILOTRIF in patients with confirmed ILD.

Hepatic Toxicity

  • In 3865 patients who received GILOTRIF across clinical trials, 10.1% had liver test abnormalities, of which 7 (0.18%) were fatal. In the pivotal study, liver test abnormalities of any grade occurred in 17.5% of the patients treated with GILOTRIF.
  • Obtain periodic liver testing in patients during treatment with GILOTRIF. Withhold GILOTRIF in patients who develop worsening of liver function. In patients who develop severe hepatic impairment while taking GILOTRIF, treatment should be discontinued.

Keratitis

  • Keratitis, characterized as acute or worsening eye inflammation, lacrimation, light sensitivity, blurred vision, eye pain, and/or red eye occurred in 0.8% of patients treated with GILOTRIF among 3865 patients across clinical trials. Keratitis was reported in 5 (2.2%) patients in the pivotal study, with Grade 3 in 1 (0.4%). Withhold GILOTRIF during evaluation of patients with suspected keratitis, and if diagnosis of ulcerative keratitis is confirmed, treatment with GILOTRIF should be interrupted or discontinued. If keratitis is diagnosed, the benefits and risks of continuing treatment should be carefully considered. GILOTRIF should be used with caution in patients with a history of keratitis, ulcerative keratitis, or severe dry eye. Contact lens use is also a risk factor for keratitis and ulceration.

Embryofetal Toxicity

ADVERSE REACTIONS

  • GILOTRIF is Pregnancy Category D. Based on its mechanism of action; GILOTRIF can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.
  • Advise females of reproductive potential to use highly effective contraception during treatment, and for at least 2 weeks after the last dose of GILOTRIF. Advise patients to contact their healthcare provider if they become pregnant, or if pregnancy is suspected, while taking GILOTRIF.
  • In GILOTRIF-treated patients (n=229) the most common adverse reactions in the pivotal study (≥20% all grades & vs pemetrexed/cisplatin-treated patients (n=111)) were diarrhea (96% vs 23%), rash/dermatitis acneiform (90% vs 11%), stomatitis (71% vs 15%), paronychia (58% vs 0%), dry skin (31% vs 2%), decreased appetite (29% vs 55%), pruritus (21% vs 1%).
  • Serious adverse reactions were reported in 29% of patients treated with GILOTRIF.
    The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in patients treated with GILOTRIF were diarrhea (6.6%); vomiting (4.8%); and dyspnea, fatigue, and hypokalemia (1.7% each). Fatal adverse reactions in GILOTRIF-treated patients included pulmonary toxicity/ILD-like adverse reactions (1.3%), sepsis (0.43%), and pneumonia (0.43%).
  • More GILOTRIF-treated patients (2.2%; n=5) experienced ventricular dysfunction (defined as diastolic dysfunction, left ventricular dysfunction, or ventricular dilation; all < Grade 3) compared to chemotherapy-treated patients (0.9%; n=1).

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Effect of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) Inhibitors and Inducers

  • Concomitant taking of P-gp inhibitors (including but not limited to ritonavir, cyclosporine A, ketoconazole, itraconazole, erythromycin, verapamil, quinidine, tacrolimus, nelfinavir, saquinavir, and amiodarone) with GILOTRIF can increase exposure to afatinib.
  • Concomitant taking of P-gp inducers (including but not limited to rifampicin, carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, and St. John's wort) with GILOTRIF can decrease exposure to afatinib.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Nursing Mothers

  • It is not known whether afatinib is present in human milk. Because many drugs are present in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from GILOTRIF, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Renal Impairment

  • GILOTRIF has not been studied in patients with severely impaired renal function.
    Closely monitor patients with moderate (CLcr 30-59 mL/min) to severe (CLcr <30 mL/min) renal impairment and adjust GILOTRIF dose if not tolerated.

Hepatic Impairment

  • GILOTRIF has not been studied in patients with severe (Child Pugh C) hepatic impairment. Closely monitor patients with severe hepatic impairment and adjust GILOTRIF dose if not tolerated.

For full prescribing information, including patient information, please click here. You can also visit www.gilotrif.com or contact Boehringer Ingelheim's Medical and Technical Information (MTI) Unit at 1-800-542-6257

About Boehringer Ingelheim in Oncology
Building on scientific expertise and excellence in the fields of pulmonary and cardiovascular medicine, metabolic disease, neurology, virology and immunology, Boehringer Ingelheim has embarked on a major research program to discover and develop innovative cancer treatments. Working in close collaboration with the international scientific community and a number of the world's leading cancer centers, Boehringer Ingelheim's commitment to oncology is underpinned by using advances in science to develop a range of targeted therapies for various solid tumors and hematological cancers. The current focus of late-stage research includes compounds in three areas: signal transduction inhibition, angiogenesis inhibition and cell-cycle kinase inhibition. The company is also evaluating a robust and growing pipeline of early-stage oncology compounds in areas including growth/survival signaling, immunotherapy and epigenetics.

For information about participating in a Boehringer Ingelheim clinical trial, please visit www.bicancertrials.com or call 1.866.725.7110.

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation.

Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, the company operates globally with 146 affiliates and more than 47,000 employees. Since its founding in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel treatments for human and veterinary medicine.

Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving lives and providing valuable services and support to patients and families.  Our employees create and engage in programs that strengthen our communities. To learn more about how we make more health for more people, visit our Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

In 2014, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about $16.96 billion dollars (13.3 billion euros). R&D expenditure corresponds to 19.9 percent of its net sales.

For more information please visit www.us.boehringer-ingelheim.com, or follow us on Twitter @BoehringerUS.  

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1 Soria et al. Afatinib versus erlotinib as second-line treatment of patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung (LUX-Lung 8): an open-label randomised controlled phase 3 trial. The Lancet Oncology 2015;DOI:10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00006-6

2 Tessen HW, et al. The treatment of lung cancer in German outpatient centres. Data from a clinical registry – TLK Registry. Onkologie. 2011;34 (Suppl.6)(Poster P533):153.

3 Howlader et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2010, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2010/, based on November 2012 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, 2013.

4 Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematoogy. Lung: Non-small cell carcinoma. Available at http://atlasgeneticsoncology.org/Tumors/LungNonSmallCellID5141.html. Accessed April 2015.

5 Bryant and Cerfolio. Differences in Epidemiology, Histology, and Survival Between Cigarette Smokers and Never-Smokers Who Develop Non-small Cell Lung Cancer. Chest 2007;132:185–192.

6 Cancer Monthly. Lung Cancer (NSCLC). Available at: http://www.cancermonthly.com/cancer_basics/lung.asp. Accessed April 2015.

7 Cetin et al. Survival by histologic subtype in stage IV non-small cell lung cancer based on data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program. Clin Epidemiol. 2011;3:139–148.

8 Sequist et al. Phase III Study of afatinib or Cisplatin Plus Pemetrexed in Patients With Metastatic Lung Adenocarcinoma With Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutations. J Clin Oncol 2013;DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2012.44.2806.

9 Wu et al. Afatinib versus cisplatin plus gemcitabine for first-line treatment of Asian patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer harbouring EGFR mutations (LUX-Lung 6): an open-label, randomised phase 3 trial. J Clin Oncol 2014;DOI:10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70604.

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