A biosimilar trastuzumab antibody (MYL-1401O) is comparable in efficacy and safety to the FDA-approved targeted breast cancer drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) in women with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer, according to a randomised phase III study.
The response rates were comparable among women who received trastuzumab and among those who received MYL-1401O.
There were no significant differences in safety between the two groups.
The study will be featured in a press briefing and presented at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.
“Trastuzumab has markedly improved survival of women with HER2-positive breast cancer, but many women around the world can’t benefit from trastuzumab due to its high cost,” said lead study author Hope S. Rugo, MD, a Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
“We hope that the introduction of biosimilars will expand patient access to this effective drug, which has already benefited the lives of thousands of people across the globe.”
About the Study
The randomised phase III trial was conducted at 95 sites across Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe.
Five hundred women with metastatic, HER2-positive breast cancer received taxane chemotherapy with either trastuzumab or MYL-1401O as the first-line treatment.
The women received chemotherapy and either trastuzumab or MYL-1401O for at least eight cycles, followed by trastuzumab alone until disease progression.
This treatment regimen was consistent with how trastuzumab is used for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer both in clinical practice and in clinical trials.
Response rates were assessed at 24 weeks after treatment with combination of chemotherapy with either trastuzumab or MYL-1401O.
The study showed that MYL-1401O had equivalent efficacy and safety to trastuzumab, and that it does not trigger an immune response (low immunogenicity).
The objective response rates at 24 weeks were 69.6% with MYL-1401O vs. 64% with trastuzumab.
The lack of difference in efficacy based on response was within a narrow, pre-defined equivalence margin.
The immunogenicity and safety were comparable between treatment groups.
The rates of serious adverse events were 36% in the trastuzumab group and 38% in the MYL-1401O group.
The most common serious side effect was low blood counts (neutropenia), and there was no difference in measures of cardiac function between the two arms. There were four treatment-related deaths in either group.
“To our knowledge, this is one of the first clinical trials to show equivalency of a trastuzumab biosimilar to the branded cancer drug,” said Dr Rugo.
Researchers previously generated data to show similarity in biological and physicochemical characteristics of MYL-1401O and trastuzumab.
Such analyses are part of the regulatory agency requirements for a proposed biosimilar.
The authors hope is for future clinical trials to explore the use of other biosimilars, or combinations of biosimilars, with the goal of improving world-wide access to these biologic agents.