Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca (AZN) said on Friday that a combination of its lung cancer drug Imfinzi, monoclonal antibody tremelimumab and chemotherapy had demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful overall survival benefit versus chemotherapy alone for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

This follows on from an October 2019 study which demonstrated that the same combination of treatment showed a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival.

Progression-free survival measures whether the disease has progressed and how long patients live while overall survival measures how long patients live.

In mid-morning trading, the shares were unchanged at £76.80.

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This is the first time that the triple combination using Imfinzi has shown an overall survival benefit for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

Shore Capital noted that given the drug’s dominant use in early stage three lung cancer and small cell lung cancer, which is a rarer form of the disease, any success in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer would ‘arguably be upside to the numbers.’

However, the broker caveated the comment by saying that more detailed data would be required to interpret the precise meaning of ‘clinically significant’ while also noting the triple treatment is likely to be more expensive.

It concluded, ‘we think the results will be cautiously welcomed but don’t anticipate a change to consensus on the back of this announcement.’

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Issue Date: 07 May 2021