Atezolizumab Approved for New Combination Cancer Treatment

December 4, 2019

Monoclonal antibody originally approved in 2016.

The FDA has approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq, Genetech) to be used in combination with Abraxane ([paclitaxel protein-bound; nab-paclitaxel] and carboplatin) for the treatment of adults with metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations. 

Atezolizumab is a monoclonal antibody, originally approved in 2016, designed to bind with a PD-L1 protein expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, thereby blocking interactions with both PD-I and B7.1 receptors. According to a release by Genentech, atezolizumab may enable the re-activation of T cells and may also affect normal cells. 

Approval for the use of atezolizumab in a combination therapy is based upon the results of a phase 3 Impower130 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of atezolizumab in combination with nab-paclitaxel and carboplatin versus chemotherapy (nab -paclitaxel and carboplatin) alone for chemotherapy-naïve patients with stage 4 non-squamous NSCLC. 

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Results of the study indicate that patients lived longer when receiving the combination treatment compared to chemotherapy alone. 

Median Overall Survival Rates: 

  • Atezolizumab combiantion: 18.6 months

  • Chemotherapy: 13.9 months 

Atezolizumab was also shown to significantly reduce the risk of disease worsening or death, as the average progression-free survival rate was 7.2 months for patients receiving the combination treatment compared to 6.5 months for patients receiving only chemotherapy. 

According to the Genentech release, safety was shown to be consistent with known safety profiles of individual medicines and no new safety signals were identified in the combination treatment group. 

Warnings and precautions issued with the use of atezolizumab in a combination treatment include immune-mediated pneumonitis, hepatitis, colitis, and endocrinopathies (hypophysitis, thyroid disorders, adrenal insufficiency, type 1 diabetes mellitus); infections; infusion-related reactions; and embryo-fetal toxicity. 

Adverse events reported with the use of atezolizumab in combination other antineoplastic drugs in patients with NSCLC and SCLC include fatigue/asthenia, nausea, alopecia, constipation, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. 

 

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