New Lung Cancer Combination Treatment Receives Approval


The long-awaited decision from the FDA finally means that patients with metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) will now have the option of being treated with Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in combination with Avastin (bevacizumab). This new therapy can greatly extend life expectancy and provide improved outcomes.

Approval was based on the Phase III IMpower150 trial, a multicenter, open-label, randomized study which enrolled approximately 1200 participants. Overall median survival was 19.2 months compared to previous 14.7 months estimates. When administered alongside chemotherapy, the treatment reduced the risk of disease worsening or death by 29%.

The drug combo was also particularly effective at shrinking tumors, displaying an overall response rate in 55% of people. In 4% of cases, patients experienced a complete response. Furthermore, Tecentriq in combination with Avastin and chemotherapy produced a median duration of response over 10.8 months versus 6.5 months offered by other courses.

Tecentriq is already approved in the United States to address certain types of lung cancers, as well as a type of bladder and urinary tract cancer. The monoclonal antibody was designed to bind to the PD-L1 protein expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, allowing the activation of T cells.

Avastin is a biologic antibody created to interfere with a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), responsible for regulating blood supply in tumors.

Together, Tecentriq and Avastin enhance the potential of the immune system to combat first-line advanced NSCLC. The combined effect promotes T cell tumor infiltration and enables priming and activation of T cell responses against tumor antigens.

This is another step forward for immunotherapy drugs in the fight against cancer.