Tecentriq (atezolizumab)

Written by: Emily Downward | Last reviewed: July 2022 | Last updated: July 2022

Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) is a drug that may be used for the treatment of certain forms of lung cancer in adults.1,2

Tecentriq may be used alone as a first treatment in people whose non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC):1-4

  • Has spread, and
  • Has tested positive for high PD-L1, and
  • Does not have an abnormal EGFR or ALK gene

Tecentriq may be used with the medicines bevacizumab, paclitaxel, and carboplatin as a first treatment in people whose NSCLC:1-4

  • Has spread, and
  • Is a type called non-squamous NSCLC, and
  • Does not have an abnormal EGFR or ALK gene

Tecentriq may be used with the medicines paclitaxel protein-bound and carboplatin as a first treatment in people whose NSCLC:1-4

  • Has spread, and
  • Is a type called non-squamous NSCLC, and
  • Does not have an abnormal EGFR or ALK gene

Tecentriq may be used alone in people whose NSCLC:1-4

  • Has spread and did not respond or is no longer responding to chemotherapy that contains platinum, and
  • If the tumor has an abnormal EGFR or ALK gene, treatment that targets these genes should have been tried and did not work or is no longer working

Tecentriq may also be used as a single medication adjuvant treatment (to help reduce the risk of cancer returning) in people whose NSCLC:

  • Has been surgically removed and treated with chemotherapy that contains platinum, and
  • Is considered between stage II to stage IIIA and is positive for PD-L1.

Tecentriq is also approved for extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) as first treatment in combination with certain chemotherapy drugs.5,6

What are the ingredients in atezolizumab?

The active ingredient is atezolizumab.4

How does Tecentriq work?

The immune system is responsible for protecting the rest of the body from foreign invaders or abnormal cells, like cancer cells. Some people with NSCLC have cancer cells that contain the PD-L1 protein (PD-L1 may also be found on certain immune system cells). These are proteins that can help tumors grow and survive by preventing the body's immune response from targeting the cancer cells.4,5

Tecentriq attaches to the PD-L1 protein and stops it from blocking the immune response. Blocking this protein can help the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer.4,5

What are the possible side effects of Tecentriq?

The most common side effects of Tecentriq include:4,5

The most common side effects when Tecentriq is used with other cancer drugs to treat lung cancer include:4,5

  • Tiredness
  • Low appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Constipation

Because Tecentriq may also affect the way that healthy cells function, it may also cause serious side effects. Get medical help right away if you have side effects such as:4,5

  • Lung problems – Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
  • Liver problems – Yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes, nausea or vomiting that is severe, stomach pain, dark urine, easy bruising, and bleeding
  • Intestinal problems (colitis) – Diarrhea, severe stomach pain, stools that have blood or mucus or are dark and tarry
  • Hormone gland problems – Headaches, tiredness, weight changes, dizziness, fainting, hair loss, mood changes, constipation, frequent urination
  • Skin problems – Itching, rash, lymph node swelling, blisters on the skin, skin peeling, ulcers/sores of the mouth, throat, nose, or genitals
  • Kidney problems - Bloody urine, ankle swelling, decreased appetite, making less urine
  • Problems in other organs – Weakness, numbness, confusion, eye pain or vision problems, mood changes, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, swelling around the ankles, flu-like symptoms, fever
  • Infusion reactions – Fever, itching, rash, flushing, shortness of breath, dizziness, feeling faint, back or neck pain, shaking, chills

Your doctor will check you for these side effects during treatment with Tecentriq. If certain side effects occur, your doctor may treat you with steroids or hormone replacement drugs. They may also delay or stop your treatment with Tecentriq if you have serious side effects.4,5

These are not all the possible side effects of Tecentriq. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Tecentriq. You should also call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Tecentriq.

Things to know about Tecentriq

Before taking Tecentriq, tell your doctor if you have:4,5

  • Immune system problems like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus
  • Had an organ transplant
  • Had or plan to have a stem cell transplant
  • Had chest area radiation therapy
  • A condition that affects your nervous system, such as myasthenia gravis or Guillain-Barre syndrome

Tecentriq can harm an unborn baby. If you can become pregnant, you should use birth control during treatment and for some time after the last dose of Tecentriq. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Tecentriq and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking Tecentriq.4

Before beginning treatment for lung cancer, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Tecentriq.

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