Adding Tecentriq (atezolizumab) to a treatment of Avastin (bevacizumab) and chemotherapy significantly prolonged the time to disease progression or death in people with previously untreated advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The results stem from a Phase 3 trial of 1,202 people, with data also indicating better overall survival in patients treated with Tecentriq. Improved progression-free and overall survival were the two main trial outcome measures.
“We are extremely encouraged by these results and will submit these data to health authorities globally with the goal of bringing a potential new standard of care for the initial treatment of lung cancer,” Sandra Horning, MD, chief medical officer and head of global product development at Genentech, part of the Roche Group, said in a press release.
Genentech is the developer of both Tecentriq and Avastin.
The company plans to share data from the Phase 3 study, called IMpower150 (NCT02366143), at the upcoming European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Immuno Oncology Congress in Geneva, Switzerland, early next month.
The study explored Tecentriq in combination with the chemotherapeutic drugs Paraplatin (carboplatin) and Taxol (paclitaxel), with or without the addition of Avastin. The trial also included a control group that received Avastin plus chemotherapy.
Participants received an induction treatment and then maintenance therapy with Tecentriq or Avastin until their disease worsened or they died.
Comparing people on Tecentriq, Avastin, and chemotherapy to those treated only with Avastin and chemotherapy, it turned out that Tecentriq prolonged the time until disease progression or death. The analysis excluded patients with an ALK or EGFR genetic mutation. The company, however, also analyzed a subgroup of people who had a certain T-cell signature. Improved progression-free survival was also seen in this subgroup.
The company will share more detailed data in the upcoming ESMO presentation.
Tecentriq is a so-called checkpoint inhibitor targeting the PD-L1 protein. Checkpoint inhibitors work by removing restraints on the immune system, which becomes re-activated and capable of fighting a tumor.
The drug is currently approved for second-line advanced lung cancer treatment after failure of platinum-based chemotherapy. It is also approved for certain cases of urinary tract cancer.
“In addition to first-line NSCLC, we are testing the ability of Tecentriq and Avastin to enhance the potential of the immune system to combat a broad range of other cancers,” Horning said.