FDA Approves Immunotherapy Tecentriq® for People with a Specific Lung Cancer

FDA Approves Genentech’s Cancer Immunotherapy Tecentriq® (Atezolizumab) for People with a Specific Type of Lung Cancer.

Genentech, a member of the Roche Group announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) for the treatment of people with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, and have progressed on an appropriate FDA-approved targeted therapy if their tumor has EGFR or ALK gene abnormalities. This approval is based on results from the randomized Phase III OAK and Phase II POPLAR studies. The largest study, OAK, showed that Tecentriq helped people in the overall study population live a median of 13.8 months, 4.2 months longer than those treated with docetaxel chemotherapy (median overall survival [OS]: 13.8 vs. 9.6 months; HR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.63, 0.87). The study enrolled people regardless of their PD-L1 status and included both squamous and non-squamous disease types.

“Tecentriq is a new option to help people with this type of previously treated metastatic lung cancer, regardless of PD-L1 expression, live longer than chemotherapy,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “Tecentriq is the first and only approved cancer immunotherapy designed to target the PD-L1 protein, which may play an important role in the way the medicine works.”

“Over the past 15 years, survival rates for advanced lung cancer have been consistently improving,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a lung cancer survivor and founder of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF). “The approval of Tecentriq is another important step for patients by increasing the number of medicines available to people living with lung cancer.”

The Tecentriq development program includes more than 15 clinical trials in lung cancer, including seven Phase III studies in previously untreated (first-line) lung cancer. These studies are evaluating the use of Tecentriq alone or in combination with other medicines.

Possible serious side effects with Tecentriq include, but are not limited to, lung problems (pneumonitis), liver problems (hepatitis), intestinal problems (colitis), hormone gland problems (especially the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas), nervous system problems (neuropathy, meningitis and encephalitis), eye problems (inflammation of the eyes), severe infections and severe infusion reactions. Additional information on these and other side effects can be found below.

Tecentriq is a monoclonal antibody designed to bind with a protein called PD-L1. Tecentriq is designed to bind to PD-L1 expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, blocking its interactions with both PD-1 and B7.1 receptors. By inhibiting PD-L1, Tecentriq may enable the activation of T cells. Tecentriq may also affect normal cells.

Tecentriq is a prescription medicine used to treat a type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer. Tecentriq may be used when lung cancer:

  • Has spread or grown, and if
  • You have tried chemotherapy that contains platinum, and it did not work or is no longer working.
  • If your tumor has an abnormal EGFR or ALK gene, you should have also tried an FDA-approved therapy for tumors with these abnormal genes, and it did not work or is no longer working.

It is not known if Tecentriq is safe and effective in children.

To read the full Genetech press release and prescribing information, click here.

Reference: Genetech. (2016.) FDA Approves Genetech’s Cancer Immunotherapy Tecentriq® for People with a Specific Type of Metastatic Lung Cancer. [Press release.] Retrieved from

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