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NCCN Receives $2 Million in Research Funding from Boehringer Ingelheim to Study Targeted Combination Approaches with Afatinib in Lung Cancer

The NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) received a $2-million grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to facilitate studies of afatinib in non-small cell lung cancer. 

FORT WASHINGTON, PA — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Oncology Research Program (ORP) has been awarded a $2-million grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to develop a program to evaluate scientifically targeted combination approaches with afatinib in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

“Lung cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer in men and women in the United States[1],” said Diane E. Paul, MS, RN, Vice President, NCCN ORP. “The ongoing collaboration between NCCN and Boehringer Ingelheim indeed puts NCCN Member Institution investigators at the helm of oncology research with the potential to improve the lives of people with cancer.”

The first phase of the program will involve the establishment of an NCCN Afatinib Request for Proposals Development Team charged with evaluating existing data and defining the data and types of studies necessary to further characterize the safety and clinical effectiveness of afatinib in combination with other targeted agents in NSCLC.

Afatinib is FDA approved under the brand name Gilotrif® for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 19 deletions or exon 21 (L858R) substitution mutations as detected by an FDA-approved test. According to Boehringer Ingelheim, approval of afatinib in this indication was based on the primary endpoint of progression-free survival from the LUX-Lung 3 clinical trial where afatinib significantly delayed tumor growth when compared to standard chemotherapy. In addition, afatinib is the first treatment to show an overall survival (OS) benefit for patients with specific types of EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC compared to chemotherapy. A significant OS benefit was demonstrated independently in the LUX-Lung 3 and 6 trials for patients with the most common EGFR mutation (exon 19 deletions; del19) compared to chemotherapy[2,3].

The NCCN ORP draws on the expertise of investigators at NCCN Member Institutions and the NCCN Affiliate Research Consortium (ARC) to facilitate all phases of clinical research. This research is made possible by collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer.

The NCCN ORP will utilize the grant from Boehringer Ingelheim, Inc. to support investigator-initiated clinical and correlative studies at NCCN Member Institutions and their affiliate community hospitals for afatinib. To date, this successful research model has received approximately $54 million in research grants and supported 125 studies that have produced a number of publications in peer-reviewed journals.

To learn more about NCCN ORP and ongoing clinical trials, visit NCCN.org.

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About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation.

Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, the company operates globally with 146 affiliates and more than 47,000 employees. Since its founding in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel treatments for human and veterinary medicine.

Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving lives and providing valuable services and support to patients and families. Our employees create and engage in programs that strengthen our communities. To learn more about how we make more health for more people, visit our Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

For more information please visit www.us.boehringer-ingelheim.com, or follow us on Twitter @BoehringerUS. 


[1] "Cancer Facts & Figures 2015." American Cancer Society. Web. 21 May 2015.

[2] Yang, James Chih-Hsin et al. Afatinib versus cisplatin-based chemotherapy for EGFR mutation-positive lung adenocarcinoma (LUX-Lung 3 and LUX-Lung 6): analysis of overall survival data from two randomised, phase 3 trials. The Lancet Oncology. 2015; 16(2): 141-151.

[3] Gilotrif prescribing information: http://bidocs.boehringer-ingelheim.com/BIWebAccess/ViewServlet.ser?docBase=renetnt&folderPath=/Prescribing+Information/PIs/Gilotrif/Gilotrif.pdf

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit NCCN.org.

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital