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Ever since the Food and Drug Administration approved osimertinib for some early-stage lung cancer patients to take after surgery, clinicians have debated whether the evidence suggested the drug was worth the cost. The initial results of the Phase 3 trial testing the drug were “phenomenal,” said Sandip Patel, a medical oncologist at the University of California, San Diego. The issue was the overall survival analysis wasn’t done yet, what Patel called the gold standard measure for drugs in this setting.

“For folks that want a higher standard of evidence before giving a costly treatment, it was reasonable to hold off and await this data,” Patel said.


The wait, it seems, is over — sort of. In a press release on Thursday, AstraZeneca announced that a new analysis of the drug, also called Tagrisso, showed that it provided a “significant” benefit to overall survival, although the company won’t release how much that benefit really was until a medical conference later this year. It had to release the broad strokes to shareholders now, AstraZeneca told STAT.

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