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Exotic Cancer Therapy Fights Brain Tumors

April 3, 2017

Novocure reported final results from its phase 3 pivotal EF-14 trial adding Optune to standard temozolomide chemotherapy for the treatment of newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM). Landmark analyses show a consistent and maintained improvement in overall survival at two, three, four and five years. The final results include data from all 695 patients included in the EF-14 trial with a median follow-up of 40 months.

The two-year survival rate increased from 30 percent to 43 percent for patients treated with Optune together with temozolomide versus patients treated with temozolomide alone. The five-year survival rate increased from five percent to 13 percent for patients treated with Optune together with temozolomide versus patients treated with temozolomide alone. These are the best results reported for newly diagnosed GBM patients in a phase 3 trial to date and represent clinically meaningful increases in landmark survival rates (hazard ratio, 0.63; p<0. 00006).

EF-14 Principal Investigator Roger Stupp, M.D., Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, presented these late breaking results today, April 2, during a press briefing and oral presentation (Abstract CT007) at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017 in Washington D.C.

“When I started treating patients with GBM 20 years ago, the majority of patients died within less than one year and long-term survival was nearly absent. Now, we see a meaningful improvement in survival at two years and beyond,” Dr. Stupp said. “With the combination of Optune and temozolomide, one out of seven patients is living longer than five years.”

“This is the first positive phase 3 trial in newly diagnosed GBM since we demonstrated the efficacy of temozolomide in 2005, establishing it as a standard first-line therapy,” continued Dr. Stupp. “Beyond GBM, I believe this trial establishes an entirely different approach to cancer treatment with minimal toxicity which may be well suited for combination with conventional treatments for many other cancer types.”

GBM is the most common form of primary brain cancer. An estimated 12,500 people are diagnosed with GBM in the United States each year. Prior to the approval of Optune, the median overall survival for patients with newly diagnosed GBM was approximately 15 months with standard therapies. Combining Optune with temozolomide resulted in a statistically significant extension of median overall survival to 21 months in Novocure’s phase 3 pivotal EF-14 trial.

“We are excited that combination therapy with Optune plus temozolomide continues to show a meaningful extension of long-term survival for newly diagnosed GBM patients,” said Elizabeth M. Wilson, President and CEO of the American Brain Tumor Association. “Before temozolomide was approved, newly diagnosed GBM patients only had a 1.9 percent five-year survival rate, so to see numbers that are over six times that rate shows the significant progress that has been made in treating this disease.”

The data presented confirmed that the overall survival benefit of Optune together with temozolomide compared to temozolomide alone was seen across all patient subgroups including young versus elderly patients, patients with methylated versus unmethylated MGMT promoter and patients who underwent any extent of tumor resection. The data showed a safety profile consistent with previous reports of data from the study.

“These data further support our belief that Optune plus temozolomide is an essential combination treatment for patients with newly diagnosed GBM,” said Asaf Danziger, Novocure’s CEO. “The efficacy shown in EF-14 for GBM gives us hope that TTFields used in combination other cancer treatments may increase survival without significantly increasing side effects for a variety of solid tumors.”

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