February 21, 2024
AZ cancer drug shows promise in prolonging lives for those with a type of liver cancer

A Phase III trial showed that AstraZeneca’s cancer drug Imfinzi, in combination with TACE and bevacizumab, improved survival rates in patients with HCC, a type of liver cancer.

The results were disclosed at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

About 20% to 30% of patients with HCC, the most common type of liver cancer, are eligible for embolization. The procedure blocks the blood supply to the tumor and can also deliver chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the liver. Despite being the standard of care in this setting, most embolization patients see the disease progress.

In the EMERALD-1 trial, treatment with Imfinzi plus TACE and bevacizumab reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 23% compared to TACE alone.

The trial will continue to assess overall survival.

Bruno Sangro, director of the Liver Unit and Professor of Medicine at Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, and a lead investigator in the EMERALD-1 trial, said: “In this earlier liver cancer setting, embolization alone has been the standard of care for more than 20 years, and rates of disease progression have remained high. Adding durvalumab and bevacizumab to TACE reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 23% for patients with liver cancer eligible for embolization, showing for the first time that combining a systemic treatment with TACE meaningfully improves this clinically relevant outcome in earlier-stage disease.”

Susan Galbraith, executive vice president, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca, said: “With Imfinzi-based treatment, patients with liver cancer eligible for embolisation lived nearly seven additional months before their disease progressed. We are discussing these positive EMERALD-1 data with global regulatory authorities while awaiting the final overall survival results from the trial.”

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AstraZeneca has 1,500 administrative and logistics employees in northern Delaware.

Imfinzi is one of AstraZeneca’s key drugs with annual sales of nearly $3 billion.