FDA Approves Tecentriq for First-Line Treatment of Metastatic NSCLC

The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has expanded the use of Tecentriq for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Tecentriq (atezolizumab) has been approved in the past for NSCLC that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic cancer) in combination with other drugs. Some of these include chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs. Now, Tecentriq can be used on its own as a first-line option for metastatic NSCLC.

Specifically, it can be used in adults whose cancer cells express PD-L1, a protein on the outside of cells that is involved in the immune system response. People taking Tecentriq on its own for NSCLC must have no mutations in genes called EGFR or ALK. Your doctor will run a test to determine if your cancer falls into this category. A new diagnostic test was approved alongside this expansion in order to help with this process.

Tecentriq is also approved for the treatment of certain cases of small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), breast cancer, and bladder cancer.

How does Tecentriq work?

Tecentriq is a PD-L1 blocking antibody. PD-L1 (programmed death-ligand 1) is a protein that is on the outside of certain cells. PD-L1 normally helps the immune system run smoothly and fight off cancer-causing cells. However, some cancer cells may also have PD-L1, and can use it to hide from the immune system. By blocking this protein on lung cancer cells, the body’s natural cancer-fighting abilities can be improved. This may slow or stop the spread of a person’s cancer.

Tecentriq in clinical trials

The expansion of Tecentriq’s use was granted after the FDA reviewed results from the IMpower110 clinical trial. In the trial, people taking Tecentriq on its own as a first-line treatment option had better overall survival times compared to those taking chemotherapy only (20 months versus 13 months). Additionally, the time until cancer progression and overall response to treatment were both better for those taking Tecentriq in comparison to standard chemotherapy. These results suggest that Tecentriq on its own may improve survival and slow down the spread of cancer cells.

What are the side effects of Tecentriq?

When taken on its own, the most common side effects of Tecentriq include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or decreased appetite
  • Cough or shortness of breath

This is not a full list of all potential side effects. Your doctor can provide you with more information on taking Tecentriq.

Things to know about Tecentriq

As with other drugs, there are rare but serious side effects that can occur when taking Tecentriq. Tecentriq may increase a person’s risk of inflammation in different organs. This includes the lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and hormone-making glands. Your doctor will monitor you closely for signs of any of these reactions. Tecentriq may also increase a person’s risk of infection.

Tecentriq may harm an unborn baby and could potentially pass through breast milk. Because of this, effective birth control methods are needed while taking these drugs. Additionally, women taking Tecentriq are advised not to breastfeed.

Read the prescribing information to learn more about Tecentriq.1,2

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