AstraZeneca logo on side of buidling
AstraZeneca releases positive cancer trial results / Image source: Adobe
  • US approval for endometrial cancer drug
  • Leads to 58% improvement in survival rates
  • Imfinzi generated sales of $4.2 billion

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (AZN) said it has received US regulatory approval for its cancer drug Imfinzi to treat patients with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer.

The approval was based on results from a late-stage trial which showed Imfinzi plus carboplatin and paclitaxel followed by Imfinzi monotherapy reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 58% versus chemotherapy alone.

Endometrial cancer is the fourth most prevalent in US women, with more than 66,000 cases diagnosed in 2022 leading to almost 22,000 deaths according to the WHO (World Health Organisation).


AstraZeneca’s executive vice president of oncology David Frederiksen said: ‘There have been limited advances in the treatment of endometrial cancer in the last few decades, and continued innovation is critical as the burden of this cancer is expected to grow in the future.

‘Immunotherapy in combination with chemotherapy is emerging as a new standard of care in this setting, and the approval of Imfinzi offers an important new option for patients with mismatch repair deficient disease.’

Imfinzi is a human monoclonal antibody that bonds to specific proteins, countering the tumour’s immune-evading tactics and releasing the inhibition of immune responses.

The treatment is approved in several countries in combination with chemotherapy in locally advanced or metastatic biliary tract (digestive system) cancer and in combination with Imjudo in unremovable liver cancer.

Imfinzi generated sales of $4.2 billion in 2023, up 52% on the prior year, making it is one of AstraZeneca’s blockbuster treatments. It was first approved in May 2017 and more than 220,000 patients have been treated with the drug.

AstraZeneca shares, which fell 0.5% to £124.5 despite the news, are up 15% since the start of the year compared with a 5% gain for the blue-chip FTSE 100 index.


Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account. AJ Bell logo

Issue Date: 17 Jun 2024