BioTrends Research Group LLC has released findings from the TreatmentTrends® Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer report, in which 105 US-based medical oncologists were surveyed about their current and expected treatment patterns in one of the largest oncology indications. Non-Small-Cell Lung cancer (NSCLC) is reported as having the third highest unmet need for new products behind Small-Cell Lung and Pancreatic cancer.

In the treatment of NSCLC, medical oncologists segment their treatment options based on patients’ histology with two-thirds of their patients having non-squamous-cell and one-third having squamous-cell. Maintenance therapy can be prescribed to patients with both sub-types of NSCLC after their first line of therapy.

For non-squamous-cell lung cancer patients the leading therapies are Genentech’s Avastin with or without chemotherapy and Eli Lilly’s Alimta with or without chemotherapy in the first-line and maintenance patient population. In the second-line setting the leading agents are Eli Lilly’s Alimta with or without chemotherapy and Genentech’s/Astellas’s Tarceva, while in the third-line setting Tarceva is the most often prescribed.

In squamous-cell lung cancer the leading therapies are generic platinum-based chemotherapy regimens such as carboplatin combined with paclitaxel and gemcitabine combined with carboplatin or cisplatin in the first-line and maintenance patient population. In the second-line setting the leading therapies are generic therapies such as docetaxel and gemcitabine. In the third-line setting vinorelbine is used in a quarter of patients, while Genentech’s/Astellas’s Tarceva has the second highest patient share.

Medical oncologists were asked how they expect their treatment patterns to change over the next six months and reported product changes were minimal suggesting a fairly static market. A notable exception is reported increased usage of molecular testing to identify appropriate patients for targeted therapies. Gene abnormalities are more commonly screened in non-squamous NSCLC patients compared to squamous-cell patients.

The oncologists in this study felt they were making progress in targeted NSCLC treatment because they can screen patients for EGFR mutation which is often linked to Tarceva and they also have Pfizer’s new therapy Xalkori which is indicated in advanced NSCLC patients with the ALK-positive gene abnormality.

There are over 20 therapies in late stage development for advanced NSCLC. In terms of level of awareness of these new therapies, oncologists in this study were most aware of drugs that are currently on the market and are in development for this indication such as Onyx Pharmaceutical’s/Bayer HealthCare’s Nexavar and Celgene’s Abraxane. It should be noted Sanofi’s inipanib is known by over a third of respondents, which is the highest level for therapies not currently on the market in other indications. The products in development for NSCLC which have the highest rating for “interest in learning more” are Celgene’s Abraxane and Bristol-Meyers Squibb’s Yervoy.

Source: BioTrends Research Group LLC