Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer whose first therapy was Genentech‘s Tecentriq (atezolizumab) survived a median of two years after treatment, according to long-term results of a Phase 2 clinical trial.
The benefits of the immuno-oncology therapy applied to patients with both of the gene mutations associated with NSCLC, an aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancer, researchers said.
Genetech presented the findings at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s 18th World Conference in Yokohama, Japan, Oct. 15-18. The presentation was titled “Updated Efficacy Results From the BIRCH Study: First-Line Atezolizumab Therapy in PD-L1–Selected Patients With Advanced NSCLC.”
Tecentriq is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that targets the PD-L1 protein that is found in high levels on the surface of tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells. By blocking PD-L1, the therapy boosts the body’s immune response against cancer cells, destroying them.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Tecentriq as a treatment for advanced NSCLC in patients whose disease progressed during or after platinum-based chemotherapy.
Genentech believes the immunotherapy can also benefit patients who have never received chemo.
The Phase 2 BIRCH trial (NCT02031458) is evaluating Tecentriq’s effectiveness in NSCLC patients with high levels of PD-L1 in their tumors. Researchers enrolled 659 patients in the study. One hundred thirty-nine had never been treated, 268 had had one treatment regimen, and 252 at least two regimens.
All patients received intravenous Tecentriq every three weeks until their disease progressed or they experienced unacceptable toxicity.
An analysis 12 months after treatment showed that NSCLC patients with high levels of PD-L1, and whose first therapy was Tecentriq, survived the longest — 26.9 months. Researchers published the 12-month findings in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The latest analysis came 30 months after patients were fdtreated. Researchers said the median overall survival rate of the 138 NSCLC patients whose first treatment was Tecentriq was 24 months. The group with high levels of PD-L1 on their tumors did even better, surviving 27 months.
Twenty-six percent of all of the patients responded either fully or partially to treatment. The overall response rate among those with high levels of PD-L1 was 35 percent.
Whether a patient had an EGFR or KRAS mutation did not significantly affect overall response rate, the team added.
Tecentriq’s safety profile was similar to that seen in other trials, with no new concerns reported.
Overall, the results suggested that Tecentriq is a promising frontline therapy for patients with advanced NSCLC, the researchers concluded.
Genentech is conducting two Phase 3 trials (NCT03191786 and NCT02657434) to determine whether Tecentriq-based treatment regimens can outperform standard chemo regimens as a first-line therapy for NSCLC.