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Data backs up Roche’s Tecentriq/Avastin combo in lung cancer

Results will be used to pursue a first-line indication in NSCLC

Roche

Roche has revealed the data behind last month’s headline message from the Impower150 trial of Tecentriq and Avastin – showing that the combination doubles progression-free survival (PFS).

Giving Tecentriq (atezolizumab) and Avastin (bevacizumab) on top of chemotherapy to previously-untreated patients with advanced non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) resulted in a 38% reduction in PFS compared with those who received Avastin plus chemotherapy (8.3 months versus 6.8 months.

Moreover, a doubling of the 12-month PFS rate was observed with the combination compared to Avastin plus chemotherapy – 37% versus 18% - and the overall response rate was significantly higher at 64% versus 48%. The data is being presented today at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) cancer immunotherapy congress in Geneva.

“[This is] the first positive phase III combination trial that showed a cancer immunotherapy reduced the risk of the disease getting worse when used as an initial treatment in a broad group of people with advanced non-squamous NSCLC,” said Roche’s chief medical officer Sandra Horning.

“The IMpower150 study represents an important advance in lung cancer treatment, and we will submit these results to regulatory authorities around the world to potentially bring a new standard of care to people living with this disease as soon as possible.”

First-line approval would allow Roche to take on Merck & Co’s PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab), currently dominating the first-line NSCLC category as the only cancer immunotherapy with chemo combination approval in the US.

Roche’s own Avastin is already widely used in NSCLC so Tecentriq may be able to piggyback on that position.

Merck withdrew its EU filing for Keytruda as a first-line treatment for non-squamous NSCLC in combination with carboplatin and Eli Lilly's Alimta (pemetrexed) last month, saying it wanted to include overall survival as an endpoint and that would hold back the results until 2019.

Roche is playing catch-up in the immuno-oncology sector with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) – which failed a phase III trials in first-line NSCLC – as well as Keytruda.

Roche’s drug made $357m in the first nine months of this year from its use in bladder cancer and second-line NSCLC, well behind Opdivo’s sales of $3.6bn and Keytruda’s $2.5bn in the same period.

Article by
Phil Taylor

12th December 2017

From: Research

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