Roche's Tecentriq excels in another lung cancer study
Months after securing FDA approval for Tecentriq as a first line of defense — in combination with chemotherapy — in extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer patients, Roche on Thursday said the immunotherapy helped certain treatment-naive patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) live longer versus chemotherapy, in a pivotal study.
The 572-patient trial, called IMpower110, tested Tecentriq monotherapy against chemotherapy (cisplatin or carboplatin and pemetrexed or gemcitabine) in patients with advanced non-squamous and squamous non-small cell lung cancer in patients without ALK or EGFR mutations.
Sandra Horning at an Endpoints News event during #JPM19 in San Francisco, January 2019 Endpoints News
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The study met the main goal in an interim analysis showing that Tecentriq monotherapy surpassed the effect of chemotherapy alone. “Tecentriq monotherapy has shown a significant survival benefit over chemotherapy as an initial treatment in people with squamous or non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer with high PD-L1 expression,” Roche’s outgoing CMO Sandra Horning, said in a statement.
The study will continue to conduct the final analysis for patients with lower levels of PD-L1 expression, the Swiss drugmaker added. Roche is set to submit the dataset — details of which will be disclosed at a future medical conference — to health regulators in the United States and Europe.
Roche has nine Phase III lung cancer studies underway evaluating Tecentriq as a monotherapy or in combination with other medicines across a plethora of lung cancer types.
Tecentriq has already secured US approval in a number of lung cancer indications. In March, it scored the extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) approval, and last December the FDA endorsed the drug in combination with Avastin for patients with non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer. The drug — which is also approved for bladder and breast cancer — raked in sales of about $788 million in the first half of this year.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death globally, according to the WHO. The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell and small cell, and NSCLC accounts for about 85% of all cases. Overall, the NSCLC market is poised to grow to $14.6 billion by 2024, according to GlobalData estimates.
The Swiss drugmaker is carving itself a bigger piece of the lucrative immuno-oncology market, which is largely monopolized by Merck’s $MRK keystone checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda, and to a lesser extent Bristol-Myers Squibb $BMY Opdivo. AstraZeneca’s $AZN Imfinzi is also gaining ground, particularly in lung cancer.