ASCO24: Tagrisso in the spotlight, Caribou’s adjustment and Lilly’s KRAS competitor

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Over the weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago, cancer researchers and doctors detailed fresh findings from hundreds of clinical trials.

We covered in detail results from a few of the most significant, including for AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s Enhertu and GSK’s Blenrep. There were many more important studies we didn’t cover with a full story, but several of which we’ve summarized in brief here:

AstraZeneca may find another use for its top-selling drug Tagrisso based on data presented at ASCO. The so-called LAURA trial tested the drug in people whose non-small cell lung cancer had an EGFR mutation and couldn’t be surgically removed. Participants had completed chemo and radiation therapy beforehand, and their cancer hadn’t spread much beyond one lung. Results from the 216-person study showed Tagrisso reduced the relative risk of death or progression by 84%, compared to a placebo. Trial investigators didn’t test Tagrisso against AstraZeneca’s own immunotherapy Imfinzi, which is approved to treat these patients. Experts said Imfinzi doesn’t work well in EGFR-mutated cancer, though. — Jonathan Gardner

Shares in Caribou Biosciences fell by nearly a quarter Monday after the biotechnology company presented updated trial data for its “off-the-shelf” CAR-T cell therapy. The results, from 46 patients with relapsed or refractory B cell lymphoma, showed lower rates of treatment response and remission than a previous readout last summer from about one-third as many patients. Treatment appeared to lead to longer median progression-free survival in patients whose CAR-T therapy was built from more closely matched donor cells. Caribou plans to study this approach more closely, and has delayed the start of a planned Phase 3 trial as a result. — Ned Pagliarulo

Two cancer drugs capable of targeting KRAS mutations — once considered “undruggable” — are on the market in the U.S. Eli Lilly hopes its experimental candidate olomorasib can join them and, at ASCO, made a case for why. Results from a Phase 1/2 study showed the drug shrank tumors in 35% of enrolled patients with solid tumors other than colon cancer. Only 1% of those participants discontinued treatment due to side effects, Lilly said. The company also tested olomorasib in combination with Keytruda, a regimen that led to responses in 77% of 17 previously untreated people with metastatic lung cancer. A larger Phase 3 trial is now enrolling. — Ned Pagliarulo

Over the past several years, drugmakers have tested immunotherapy earlier and earlier, exploring its use during and after surgery. A study by Bristol Myers Squibb showed that before surgery, or “neoadjuvant,” treatment with Opdivo and Yervoy led to better outcomes than did adjuvant Opdivo treatment in people with Stage 3 melanoma. The data confirmed earlier findings from smaller studies and, researchers said, provided a template for other neoadjuvant immunotherapy trials. — Ned Pagliarulo

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