AstraZeneca and MSD Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., US (MSD: known as Merck & Co., Inc. inside the US and Canada) announced detailed results from the Phase III POLO trial at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, US (Abs #LBA4). Results are today also published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
The POLO trial tested Lynparza (olaparib) tablets as 1st-line maintenance monotherapy for patients with germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm) metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas (pancreatic cancer) whose disease had not progressed following standard-of-care platinum-based 1st-line chemotherapy.
Results from the trial showed a statistically-significant and clinically-meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for Lynparza vs. placebo, improving the time without disease progression by a median of 7.4 months for patients treated with Lynparza vs. 3.8 months for those on placebo (HR 0.53 [95% CI, 0.35-0.82], p=0.004). More than twice as many patients showed no disease progression both at one year (34% on Lynparza vs. 15% on placebo) and two years (22% vs. 10%, respectively).
José Baselga, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D, said:
“These unprecedented results raise new hope for patients that have seen little progress over a long period of time. From as early as six months after initiation, more than twice as many patients taking Lynparza lived without progression of their disease compared to those on placebo and we are now working with regulatory authorities to bring Lynparza to patients as quickly as possible.”
Roy Baynes, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Clinical Development, Chief Medical Officer, MSD Research Laboratories, said:
“We are encouraged by the results of the POLO trial which showed a considerable reduction in risk of disease progression or death with Lynparza for germline BRCA–mutated metastatic pancreatic cancer patients who did not progress on chemotherapy. Currently less than 3% of metastatic pancreatic cancer patients survive more than five years after diagnosis. The results of this trial reinforce MSD and AstraZeneca’s commitment to develop innovative treatments for cancers with few options.”
Hedy L. Kindler, MD, co-principal investigator of the POLO trial and Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, said:
“Despite efforts to identify therapies, targeted or combination treatments to improve patient outcomes, pancreatic cancer remains an area of high unmet need. The results of the POLO trial may open the door to a new era of personalised, biomarker-led care in metastatic pancreatic cancer and reinforces the importance of knowing BRCA status at diagnosis.”
Kaplan-Meier estimates of PFS by blinded, independent central review
From The New England Journal of Medicine, Golan T, et al. Maintenance Olaparib for Germline BRCA-Mutated Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer, Jun 2 [Epub ahead of print] Copyright © 2019 Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission from the Massachusetts Medical Society.
The safety and tolerability profile of Lynparza in the POLO trial was in line with that observed in prior clinical trials. The most common adverse events (AEs) ≥20% were fatigue/asthenia (60%), nausea (45%), abdominal pain (29%), diarrhoea (29%), anaemia (28%), decreased appetite (25%) and constipation (23%). The most common ≥ grade 3 AEs were anaemia (11%), fatigue/asthenia (5%), decreased appetite (3%), abdominal pain (2%), vomiting (1%) and arthralgia (1%). AEs led to dose interruption in 16% of patients on Lynparza while 5% of patients discontinued treatment.
Lynparza, which is being jointly developed and commercialised by AstraZeneca and MSD, is approved for multiple indications in advanced ovarian cancer and metastatic breast cancer and has been used in over 20,000 patients worldwide.