Sotorasib Approved to Treat Death Star Lung Cancer Mutation

Sotorasib, an oral inhibitor drug treatment used to fight a deadly mutation of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) known as the ‘death star,’ recently received approval from England’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The mutation, dubbed death star by doctors and researchers, appears spherical and occurs in between 10 and 15 percent of patients with NSCLC. While there are various medications that treat lung cancer, Sotorasib is the first and only targeted treatment approved to treat patients with the death star mutation, called KRAS G12C.

The life-extending drug took more than four decades to develop. Now, it will soon become available through the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) to patients with lung cancer. According to NICE, over 500 eligible patients will receive Sotorasib in England this year.

Sotorasib has clinically demonstrated significant anticancer activity with few risks and side effects involved.

In the United States, Sotorasib was approved in 2021 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of metastatic NSCLC in patients with the death star gene mutation.

Is Death Star (KRAS) a Type of Lung Cancer?

KRAS G12C is a type of gene mutation in non-small-cell lung cancer cells. The mutation occurs from an error in a protein that signals cell growth. The result of the mutation leads to an overproduction of cells, causing the development of cancer.

Non-small-cell lung cancer accounts for a strong majority of all lung cancers, and KRAS is the most commonly mutated gene. Only about 13 percent of lung cancer patients have the G12C mutation, but up to 25 percent have some form of KRAS mutation.

KRAS gene mutations occur in different cancer types, including colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer. Mutations of the KRAS gene have also occurred in mesothelioma patients, but the impacts of the mutation have not been thoroughly researched.

The profile of the KRAS mutations can differ among cancers, with the most common forms being G12C, G12V, and G12D. The KRAS G12C mutation, in particular, most often affects smokers or former smokers with NSCLC.

Sotorasib Treatment Targets Genetic Mutation

Sotorasib is a treatment drug that binds to the mutated protein and signals the cells to stop growing. Researchers and scientists from Amgen designed Sotorasib (Lumykras) to bind to the mutation, stopping cell division and tumor growth.

The drug may extend the lives of thousands of lung cancer patients across the world. Doctors are recommending Sotorasib as a second-line treatment for patients with the KRAS G12C gene mutation or for patients whose NSCLC has progressed. The recommendation for treatment

The drug comes in a form of a tablet that patients can take at home. Cancer treatments in the form of tablets make treatment more convenient, reduce the number of doctors visits, and prevent symptoms related to IV therapy. The quality of life among patients can improve with fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy.

While Sotorasib does cause some side effects, these symptoms should be reported to a doctor if they are severe or do not go away: diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, stomach pain, muscle weakness, bone pain, and joint paint.

The symptoms of lung cancer treatment can vary depending on the stage of cancer. Most doctors typically follow the TNM staging system when determining what treatment options are best.

Late-stage lung cancer patients typically tolerate Sotorasib well, as demonstrated in clinical trials. The benefits typically outway the risks for patients with stage 3 and stage 4 lung cancer. Although stage 3 lung cancer is not curable, Sotorasib may extend the lives of thousands.