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FDA Approves Durvalumab for Endometrial Cancer

Imfinzi for Endometrial Cancer

In recent news, the FDA has approved Durvalumab for endometrial cancer treatment. Durvalumab  is already marketed under the brand name Imfinzi

The FDA approved Durvalumab for endometrial cancer on June 14, 2024. The drug is to be given to patients with endometrial cancer in combination with chemotherapy.

This poses a new hope for cancer patients since this is a new and promising treatment option.

What Do We Know About Durvalumab (Imfinzi)?

Durvalumab is part of a class of drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors. These medicines get their name from targeting particular proteins called checkpoints present on the surface of immune cells.

These proteins stop the immune system from attacking the cancer cells. So, durvalumab blocks the checkpoints, and the immune system is free to recognize and attack the tumor properly.

What is Endometrial Cancer and Mismatch Repair Deficiency (dMMR)?

This approval for endometrial cancer treatment applies to a specific type only. Patients with primary, advanced, or recurrent endometrial cancer that is mismatch repair deficient are eligible for durvalumab.

Typically, cells have the ability to fix errors in their DNA, but with mismatch repair deficiency, these mechanisms become faulty, which causes faster-growing cancers.


Clinical trial behind Imfinzi approval

The FDA approved durvalumab based on results from a phase III clinical trial called DUO-E. This international study involved patients with newly diagnosed advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer.

They were divided into groups and received either durvalumab with chemotherapy (carboplatin and paclitaxel) followed by additional durvalumab alone or just chemotherapy by itself.

The research showed that patients who received durvalumab along with other treatments experienced longer times before their cancer became even worse and this phase is called progression-free survival (PFS).

This improvement was more clear in patients with dMMR tumors. Also, PFS is important in treating endometrial cancer so this longer PFS shows that the treatment might help slow down the cancer’s spread for patients who respond well.


When to Consider Durvalumab for Endometrial Cancer?

An important point is that durvalumab is not for everyone with endometrial cancer.

FDA approved this medicine for dMMR endometrial cancer, so doctors will need to perform tests and analyze a patient’s MMR condition before prescribing this treatment approach.

Also, durvalumab can have side effects like any medicine; therefore, patients must talk about their concerns and find out if this is the right course of treatment for them.


The FDA approval of durvalumab with chemotherapy for dMMR endometrial cancer [ref] provides a new and promising option for patients with this specific type of cancer.

This targeted therapy uses the body’s immune system to fight the disease. While more research is needed to understand the long-term benefits of durvalumab completely, it is still a significant achievement for the possible treatment of this cancer.


What else is Durvalumab Approved for?

Durvalumab is not only approved for endometrial cancers but has more uses than just one. Here is a breakdown of all abnormalities that could be treated with this drug.

It was first approved for NSCLC, the most common type of lung cancer. Now, this exact drug is indicated for multiple cancer stages, which is encouraging for patients battling with this cancer.

Unresectable stage III NSCLC:

  • On February 16, 2018, the FDA approved durvalumab for patients whose cancer has not progressed after first treatment with chemotherapy and radiation.

Stage IV (metastatic) NSCLC:

  • On November 10, 2022, the FDA approved durvalumab to be used with other immunotherapy drugs or chemotherapy for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) without having any treatment before.

Targeting other cancers

Durvalumab is a versatile drug, and its uses go beyond just lung cancer. Here are a few indications for other types of malignancies.

  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC):

This aggressive type of lung cancer can be treated with durvalumab when combined with chemotherapy. The FDA approved this use on March 27, 2020.

  • Urothelial carcinoma (UC):

This cancer affects the lining of the urinary tract. Durvalumab, used with chemotherapy, is an option for patients with advanced or spread-out urothelial carcinoma (UC) who did not respond well to their first treatment. The FDA approved this on May 1, 2017.

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC):

The most frequent type of liver cancer, HCC, can be treated with durvalumab (as approved by the FDA on October 21, 2022) in combination with another immunotherapy drug.

  • Biliary tract cancer (BTC):

On September 2, 2022, the FDA approved durvalumab (sold as Imfinzi) to be used with gemcitabine and cisplatin for adult patients with biliary tract cancer that has spread locally or to other parts of the body.


The bottom line:

As the FDA has approved durvalumab for another cancer treatment, it only shows the potential that this drug holds.

With further research, durvalumab can become a very important therapeutic approach for other cancers as well.

Currently, it is indicated for NSCLC and other malignancies like biliary tract cancer, so look forward to knowing what else durvalumab can do.

What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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