February 16, 2018 / 10:19 PM / a month ago

U.S. FDA approves AstraZeneca's immunotherapy for lung cancer

Feb 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday granted approval for expanded use of AstraZeneca Plc’s , immunotherapy drug, Imfinzi, to treat non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors can’t be surgically removed.

The approval was based on a trial testing on 713 patients whose cancer had not progressed after chemotherapy and radiation.(bit.ly/2EL2FKl)

Imfinzi, chemically known as durvalumab, belongs to a new class of oncology drugs called PD-L1 inhibitors that block a mechanism tumors use to evade detection from the immune system.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with an estimated 222,500 new diagnoses and 155,870 deaths in 2017, according to the National Cancer Institute.

In 2017, the drug was approved to treat a type of bladder cancer in patients whose disease progressed despite chemotherapy. (Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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