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Active Substance: necitumumab
Common Name: necitumumab
ATC Code: L01
Marketing Authorisation Holder: Eli Lilly Nederland B.V.
Active Substance: necitumumab
Status: Authorised
Authorisation Date: 2016-02-15
Therapeutic Area: Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
Pharmacotherapeutic Group: Antineoplastic agents

Therapeutic Indication

Portrazza in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin chemotherapy is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing squamous non-small cell lung cancer who have not received prior chemotherapy for this condition.

What is Portrazza and what is it used for?

Portrazza is a medicine for treating advanced stages of a type of lung cancer known as squamous non-small cell lung cancer.

Portrazza is only used in adults whose cancer cells have a specific protein (EGFR) on their surface and it is used together with gemcitabine and cisplatin chemotherapy.

Portrazza contains the active substance necitumumab.

How is Portrazza used?

Portrazza is given as a one hour infusion (drip) into a vein. The recommended dose is 800 mg on days 1 and 8 of each 3-week cycle. For the first 6 cycles, Portrazza is given together with gemcitabine and cisplatin chemotherapy, after which it is given on its own for as long the disease remains stable and the patient can tolerate it.

During infusions, resources should be available to deal with reactions that may occur. In case of a severe infusion or skin reaction, treatment may have to be stopped permanently. The risk of reactions can be reduced by adjusting the dose or infusion rate or by using preventive medicines. For more information, see the summary of product characteristics (also part of the EPAR).

Portrazza is available as a concentrate for making a solution and can only be obtained with a prescription.

How does Portrazza work?

The active substance in Portrazza, necitumumab, is a monoclonal antibody (a type of protein) designed to recognise and attach to EGFR on the surface of the cancer cells. EGFR normally controls the growth and division of cells, but in cancer cells EGFR is often overactive, causing them to divide uncontrollably. By attaching to and blocking EGFR, necitumumab helps to reduce the growth and spread of the cancer.

What benefits of Portrazza have been shown in studies?

A main study of 1,093 patients with advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer showed that adding Portrazza to gemcitabine and cisplatin chemotherapy can lead to a modest improvement in survival. In this study, patients treated with Portrazza in addition to chemotherapy lived on average 1.6 months longer than those treated with chemotherapy alone (11.5 months versus 9.9 months).

Most of the patients (95%) had cancer cells with EGFR. There was no improved survival in patients with non-EGFR cancer cells.

What are the risks associated with Portrazza?

The most common side effects with Portrazza (which may affect more than 1 in 10 people) are skin reactions, vomiting, stomatitis (inflammation of the lining of the mouth), fever, weight loss and low blood measurements of various minerals (magnesium, calcium, phosphate and potassium). The most common serious side effects are severe skin reactions (6% of patients) and blood clots (4% of patients). For the full list of all side effects reported with Portrazza, see the package leaflet.

Portrazza must not be used in patients who have had a severe or life-threatening reaction to any of the ingredients of the medicine.

Why is Portrazza approved?

In the main study, adding Portrazza to gemcitabine and cisplatin chemotherapy improved survival by a modest one and a half months without causing significant worsening in overall patient health. The Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) therefore concluded that Portrazza’s benefits are greater than its risks and recommended that it be approved for use in the EU.

What measures are being taken to ensure the safe and effective use of Portrazza?

A risk management plan has been developed to ensure that Portrazza is used as safely as possible. Based on this plan, safety information has been included in the summary of product characteristics and the package leaflet for Portrazza, including the appropriate precautions to be followed by healthcare professionals and patients.

In addition, the company that markets the medicine will provide doctors with educational material with information on risk of blood clots and on the small number of cardiac arrest cases seen in studies.

Further information can be found in the summary of the risk management plan.

Other information about Portrazza

The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union for Portrazza on 15 February 2016.

For more information about treatment with Portrazza, read the package leaflet (also part of the EPAR) or contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Source: European Medicines Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.