Gain in Survival with Fulvestrant plus Anastrozole in Metastatic Breast Cancer Interview with:

Rita Mehta, MD, HS Clinical Professor,Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of California School of Medicine, Irvine 

Dr. Mehta

Rita Mehta, MD, HS Clinical Professor,
Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of California School of Medicine, Irvine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Most patients with HR-positive breast cancer become resistant to hormonal therapies like aromatase inhibitor-anastrozole over time, and downregulating estrogen receptor was identified as a mechanism for overcoming or delaying resistance to hormonal therapy in advanced HR-positive breast cancer. The prospective, randomized phase III S0226 trial, first reported by us in NEJM 2012, showed that the selective estrogen receptor degrader fulvestrant in combination with anastrozole significantly improved progression-free survival in 707 women with HR-positive metastatic breast cancer in first-line setting.

Treatment with the selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) fulvestrant achieved a clinically significant and meaningful improvement in overall survival in patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive advanced breast cancer in first-line therapy, according to the final analysis of overall survival results from the S0226 study reported by us (Mehta et al. NEJM 2019)

  • Results showed that median overall survival improved by 7.8 months with anastrozole plus fulvestrant (median overall survival = 49.8 months) compared to anastrozole (median overall survival = 42.0 months).
  • The improvement was even greater in patients with endocrine naive disease, with an absolute improvement in median overall survival of 11.9 months.
  • No new safety signals were observed with longer follow-up. 

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FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation For Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis Interview with:

Mr. Tosh Butt Vice President, Respiratory AstraZeneca

Mr. Butt

Mr. Tosh Butt

Vice President, Respiratory

Mr. Butt discusses the recent announcement that the FDA has granted Orphan Drug Designation for Fasenra for the treatment of Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis.
What is the background for this announcement? Can you tell us a little more about Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis/Churg Strauss? How does it differ/resemble severe eosinophilic asthma?

  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) for FASENRA™ (benralizumab) for the treatment of Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (EGPA). The ODD application was based on epidemiology demonstrating the rarity of the disease (<200k US patients) and a scientific rationale that FASENRA may benefit patients with this condition. The core role of eosinophilia in EGPA and FASENRA’s demonstrated eosinophil-depleting properties provided this rationale and suggest it may deliver benefit to patients with EGPA.
  • EGPA is a rare autoimmune disease that can cause damage to multiple organs and tissues. EGPA is characterized by inflammation of blood vessels and the presence of elevated levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell. All patients with EGPA have very high levels of eosinophils at some point in their disease. FASENRA induces rapid and near-complete depletion of eosinophils in the blood and has proven efficacy in severe eosinophilic asthma, which suggest it may deliver benefit to patients with EGPA. 

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Asthma: Biologic Benralizumab (FASENRA) Reduced Need For Rescue Medication Interview with:
“Asthma Inhaler” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0Sean O’Quinn MPH
Director, Patient Reported Outcomes
AstraZeneca What is the background for this study? How does benralizumab differ from traditional medications for asthma?

Response:  FASENRA™ (benralizumab 30mg for subcutaneous injection as add-on maintenance therapy in severe eosinophilic asthma for patients 12 years and older) has a strong clinical profile, including powerful efficacy against exacerbations and the ability to improve lung function. Benralizumab is a respiratory biologic that binds directly to the IL-5α receptor on eosinophils and attracts natural killer cells to induce rapid and near-complete depletion of eosinophils via apoptosis. (NOTE: The mechanism of action of FASENRA in asthma has not been definitively established.) Benralizumab is not indicated for treatment of other eosinophilic conditions or for relief of acute bronchospasm or status asthmaticus. The most common adverse reactions include headache and pharyngitis.

Dependence on rescue medications is indicative of poor asthma control. In the Phase III SIROCCO/CALIMA trials, patients with severe eosinophilic asthma had significantly reduced exacerbation frequency and improved lung function when treated with benralizumab 30mg Q8W (first three doses Q4W) vs. placebo.

Less was known about the effects of benralizumab on rescue medication usage—specifically daily total rescue medication use, daytime and nighttime rescue medication use, and nighttime awakenings requiring rescue medication use. The aim of this analysis was to understand the potential treatment effects of benralizumab on these parameters.  Continue reading

Dapagliflozin (FARXIGA): Reduction in Albuminuria Cannot Be Predicted by Clinical Characteristics Interview with:

Dr-Danilo Verge.png

Dr. Verge

Danilo Verge MD MBA
Vice President, CVRM Global Medical Affairs
AstraZeneca What is the background for this study?

Response: Dapagliflozin, an SGLT2 inhibitor (sodium-glucose co-transporter 2), has been shown to improve glycemic control by decreasing glucose reabsorption in the kidneys and inducing urinary glucose clearance. SGLT2 inhibitors have also been shown to be effective in lowering albuminuria and stabilizing eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate). The effect of dapagliflozin on UACR (urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio) has been shown to vary among patients.

The objective of this post-hoc analysis, based on the pooled data from 11 randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials, was to assess baseline characteristics and concurrent changes in cardiovascular (CV) risk markers associated with UACR response to dapagliflozin.

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Real-World Dosing of RAASi are Associated With Risk of Adverse Events in CKD Interview with:

Lei Qin

Lei Qin

Lei Qin MS
Director, Health Economics and Payer Analytics
AstraZeneca What is the background for this study?

Response: Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors (RAASi) are guideline-recommended therapies for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), but are commonly prescribed at suboptimal doses, which has been associated with worsening clinical outcomes. The objective of our study was to estimate the real-world associations between RAASi dose and adverse clinical outcomes in patients prescribed RAASi therapies with new-onset CKD in the UK.

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LOKELMA (Sodium zirconium cyclosilicate) for Elevated Potassium: Results of the HARMONIZE GLOBAL Study Interview with:

Rahul Agrawal MD PhD VP, Global Medicines Leader AstraZeneca

Dr. Agrawal

Rahul Agrawal MD PhD
VP, Global Medicines Leader
AstraZeneca What is the background for this study?  

About the study: HARMONIZE Global is a Phase III, randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 267 patients with hyperkalemia (mean potassium levels greater than 5.0 mEq/L) in 47 study locations across the Asia Pacific region, which will support registration in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Russia.

Study design: The trial design of HARMONIZE Global is similar to HARMONIZE (NCT02088073) but evaluated two doses of LOKELMATM (sodium zirconium cyclosilicate) instead of three, as well as patients in different geographical regions. Continue reading

Asthma: Add-on Maintenance Treatment with FASENRA (benralizumab) Can Reduce Exacerbations Interview with:

Tosh Butt, MBA VP Respiratory AstraZeneca

Tosh Butt

Tosh Butt, MBA
VP Respiratory
AstraZeneca What is the background for this study? How is benralizumab different from more traditional treatments for asthma?

    • BORA is a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, Phase III extension, and is one of six Phase III trials in the WINDWARD program in asthma. The current analysis includes results for 1,926 patients from the two placebo controlled exacerbation trials, SIROCCO (48 week) and CALIMA (56 weeks). BORA provides evidence that add on maintenance treatment with FASENRA (benralizumab) resulted in a consistent safety profile over a second year of treatment, with no increase in the frequencies of overall or serious adverse events, and sustained efficacy in terms of reducing asthma exacerbations, and improving lung function and asthma symptoms. The BORA trial results could provide confidence to patients with severe eosinophilic asthma and physicians that the positive outcomes they may be seeing with benralizumab can be maintained over a second year of treatment.
  • FASENRA, a different kind of respiratory biologic, has a strong clinical profile which includes the ability to show lung function improvement after the first dose, the potential to reduce – or even stop – oral steroid use, and the convenience of 8-week dosing (no other respiratory biologic offers this dosing). FASENRA is approved for add-on maintenance treatment of patients with severe asthma ages 12 years and older, and with an eosinophilic phenotype. FASENRA binds directly to the IL-5a receptor on an eosinophil and uniquely attracts natural killer cells to induce apoptosis, or cell death. Other biologics currently available are anti-IL5s – a passive approach that primarily acts to block differentiation and survival of the eosinophil.

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