FDA approves third oncology drug that targets a key genetic driver of cancer, rather than a specific type of tumor
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today granted accelerated approval to Rozlytrek (entrectinib), a treatment for adult and adolescent patients whose cancers have the specific genetic defect, NTRK (neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase) gene fusion and for whom there are no effective treatments.
This is the third time the agency has approved a cancer treatment based on a common biomarker across different types of tumors rather than the location in the body where the tumor originated. The approval marks a new paradigm in the development of cancer drugs that are “tissue agnostic.” It follows the policies that the FDA developed in a guidance document released in 2018.
“Today’s approval includes an indication for pediatric patients, 12 years of age and older, who have NTRK-fusion-positive tumors by relying on efficacy information obtained primarily in adults. The FDA continues to encourage the inclusion of adolescents in clinical trials. Traditionally, clinical development of new cancer drugs in pediatric populations is not started until development is well underway in adults, and often not until after approval of an adult indication,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Efficacy in adolescents was derived from adult data and safety was demonstrated in 30 pediatric patients.”
The ability of Rozlytrek to shrink tumors was evaluated in four clinical trials studying 54 adults with NTRK fusion-positive tumors. The proportion of patients with substantial tumor shrinkage (overall response rate) was 57%, with 7.4% of patients having complete disappearance of the tumor. Among the 31 patients with tumor shrinkage, 61% had tumor shrinkage persist for nine months or longer. The most common cancer locations were the lung, salivary gland, breast, thyroid and colon/rectum.