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Mesothelioma Community Watches Immunotherapy Trial That Helps Lung Cancer Patients "Live Significantly Longer"

Immunotherapy Trial Helps Lung Cancer Patients

In December, Mesothelioma Help reported that Roche‘s immunotherapy drug atezolizumab (now known as TECENTRIQ), saw positive results in two Phase II clinical trials for non-small cell lung cancer patients (NSCLC). Now, Roche reports, in a separate trial the drug helped some lung cancer patients “live significantly longer compared to chemotherapy.”

In a Sept. 1 press release from Roche, the company reports TECENTRIQ showed a “statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival” compared with docetaxel chemotherapy in the Phase III, randomized trial known as OAK. The study looked at 850 patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC whose disease progressed after treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy.

“These results add to the growing body of evidence that supports the role of TECENTRIQ as a potential new treatment for specific types of advanced NSCLC,” said Sandra Horning, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development.

The clinical trial was designed to compare the safety and  efficacy of atezolizumab, an immunotherapy drug designed to target the PD-L1 protein, with docetaxel, a platinum-based chemotherapy, in NSCLC patients who continue to progress after platinum-based therapy.

Atezolizumab is Roche’s investigational, anti-PDL1, immunotherapy drug designed to target PD-L1 expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells and to enable the activation of T cells, according to the company. PD-L1, or programmed death-ligand 1, is a protein that has been shown to play a role in suppressing the immune system in mesothelioma and other cancers.

TECENTRIQ is a drug the mesothelioma community watches closely for its ability to target a unique characteristic of the cancer, PD-L1. Targeted therapy optimizes the potential for success of the treatment, limits experimental treatments, and provides the patient with the assurance that the physician is not taking a “cookie-cutter” approach to the mesothelioma treatment. Although mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by past asbestos exposure, resists standard treatments, PD-L1 immunotherapy has shown to be effective in mesothelioma patients.

In June, Mavis Nye, of England, completed the MK3475-28 two-year clinical trial at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. Mavis received the PD-L1 immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab, known as Keytruda in the U.S. Now, Mavis is the only person in the U.K. who can claim being in remission from mesothelioma.

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“This is very encouraging news for people living with this disease because lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths around the world,” said Dr. Horning. “We hope to bring this treatment option to patients as soon as possible.”

To find out more about the OAK clinical trial see ClinicalTrials.gov.

Photo Credit: GE Healthcare Life Sciences


  • Atezolizumab
  • Clinical trial

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