Genentech's (RHHBY) TECENTRIQ Receives FDA Approval as NSCLC Treatment in Certain Patients

October 18, 2016 4:29 PM EDT
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Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (OTC: RHHBY) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TECENTRIQ® (atezolizumab) for the treatment of people with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, and have progressed on an appropriate FDA-approved targeted therapy if their tumor has EGFR or ALK gene abnormalities. This approval is based on results from the randomized Phase III OAK and Phase II POPLAR studies. The largest study, OAK, showed that TECENTRIQ helped people in the overall study population live a median of 13.8 months, 4.2 months longer than those treated with docetaxel chemotherapy (median overall survival [OS]: 13.8 vs. 9.6 months; HR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.63, 0.87). The study enrolled people regardless of their PD-L1 status and included both squamous and non-squamous disease types.

“TECENTRIQ is a new option to help people with this type of previously treated metastatic lung cancer, regardless of PD-L1 expression, live longer than chemotherapy,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “TECENTRIQ is the first and only approved cancer immunotherapy designed to target the PD-L1 protein, which may play an important role in the way the medicine works.”

“Over the past 15 years, survival rates for advanced lung cancer have been consistently improving,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a lung cancer survivor and founder of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF). “The approval of TECENTRIQ is another important step for patients by increasing the number of medicines available to people living with lung cancer.”

The TECENTRIQ development program includes more than 15 clinical trials in lung cancer, including seven Phase III studies in previously untreated (first-line) lung cancer. These studies are evaluating the use of TECENTRIQ alone or in combination with other medicines.

Possible serious side effects with TECENTRIQ include, but are not limited to, lung problems (pneumonitis), liver problems (hepatitis), intestinal problems (colitis), hormone gland problems (especially the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas), nervous system problems (neuropathy, meningitis and encephalitis), eye problems (inflammation of the eyes), severe infections and severe infusion reactions. Additional information on these and other side effects can be found below.

For those who qualify, Genentech offers patient assistance programs for people taking TECENTRIQ through Genentech Access Solutions. Doctors can contact Genentech Access Solutions at (888) 249-4918. More information is also available at

About the OAK study

OAK is a global, multicenter, open-label, randomized, controlled Phase III study that evaluated the efficacy and safety of TECENTRIQ compared with docetaxel in 1,225 people with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC whose disease had progressed following previous treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy, with the primary analysis consisting of the first 850 randomized patients. Patients with both squamous and non-squamous disease were randomized (1:1) to receive either TECENTRIQ administered intravenously at 1200 mg every 3 weeks or docetaxel administered intravenously at 75 mg/m2 every 3 weeks. The co-primary endpoints were overall survival (OS) in all randomized patients (intention-to-treat [ITT] population) and in a PD-L1-selected subgroup in the primary analysis population.

About the POPLAR study

The POPLAR study is a global, multicenter, open-label, randomized Phase II trial that evaluated the efficacy and safety of TECENTRIQ compared with chemotherapy (docetaxel) in people with previously treated recurrent locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC. The primary endpoint was OS; secondary endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR) and safety.

A summary of the efficacy data from the OAK and POPLAR studies that supports this approval is included below.

OAK Efficacy Results in Primary Analysis Population




Hazard Ratio1

(95% CI)

P Value2

Median OverallSurvival (OS),months (95% CI)

13.8 (11.8, 15.7) 9.6 (8.6, 11.2) 0.74 (0.63, 0.87) 0.0004

1 Stratified by PD-L1 expression in tumor-infiltrating immune cells, the number of prior chemotherapy regimens, and histology

2 Based on the stratified log-rank test

CI=confidence interval

POPLAR Efficacy Results 3





Hazard Ratio1

(95% CI)

Median OS, months(95% CI)

12.6 (9.7, 16.0) 9.7 (8.6, 12.0) 0.69 (0.52, 0.92)

Objective ResponseRate1 (ORR), n (%)(95% CI)

22 (15%)

(10%, 22%)

21 (15%)

(9%, 22%)

CompleteResponse, n (%)

1 (0.7%) 0 (0%)

Partial Response, n (%)

21 (15%) 21 (15%)

Median Duration ofResponse2 (DOR),months (95% CI)

18.6 (11.6, NE)


7.2 (5.6, 12.5)


1 Stratified by PD-L1 expression in tumor-infiltrating immune cells, the number of prior chemotherapy regimens, and histology

2 per RECIST v1.1 (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors v1.1)

3 From an updated analysis with a median follow-up of 22 months

CI=confidence interval; NE=not estimable

Most common side effects (≥ 20%) in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer were fatigue, decreased appetite, dyspnea (shortness of breath), cough, nausea, musculoskeletal pain, and constipation. Nine patients (6.3%) who were treated with TECENTRIQ experienced either pulmonary embolism (2), pneumonia (lung infection) (2), pneumothorax, ulcer hemorrhage (bleeding ulcer), cachexia secondary to dysphagia, myocardial infarction (heart attack), or large intestinal perforation which led to death. TECENTRIQ was discontinued for adverse reactions in 4 percent (6) of the 142 patients.

About lung cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that more than 224,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016, and NSCLC accounts for up to 85 percent of all lung cancers. It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of lung cancer diagnoses in the United States are made when the disease is in the most advanced stages.

About Genentech Access Solutions

Access Solutions is part of Genentech’s commitment to helping people access the Genentech medicines they are prescribed, regardless of their ability to pay. The team of in-house specialists at Access Solutions is dedicated to helping people navigate the access and reimbursement process, and to providing assistance to eligible patients in the United States who are uninsured or cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs for their medicine. To date, the team has helped more than 1.4 million patients access the medicines they need. Please contact Access Solutions (866) 4ACCESS/(866) 422-2377 or visit for more information.

About TECENTRIQ® (atezolizumab)

TECENTRIQ is a monoclonal antibody designed to bind with a protein called PD-L1. TECENTRIQ is designed to bind to PD-L1 expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, blocking its interactions with both PD-1 and B7.1 receptors. By inhibiting PD-L1, TECENTRIQ may enable the activation of T cells. TECENTRIQ may also affect normal cells.

TECENTRIQ U.S. Indication (pronounced ‘tē-SEN-trik’)

TECENTRIQ is a prescription medicine used to treat a type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer. TECENTRIQ may be used when lung cancer:

  • Has spread or grown, and
  • You have tried chemotherapy that contains platinum, and it did not work or is no longer working.
  • If your tumor has an abnormal EGFR or ALK gene, you should have also tried an FDA-approved therapy for tumors with these abnormal genes, and it did not work or is no longer working.

It is not known if TECENTRIQ is safe and effective in children.

Important Safety Information

Important Information About TECENTRIQ

TECENTRIQ is a medicine that may treat lung cancer by working with the immune system. TECENTRIQ can cause the immune system to attack normal organs and tissues in many areas of the body and can affect the way they work. These problems can sometimes become serious or life-threatening and can lead to death.

Getting medical treatment right away may help keep these problems from becoming more serious. The healthcare provider may treat the patient with corticosteroid or hormone replacement medicines. The healthcare provider may delay or completely stop treatment with TECENTRIQ if severe side effects occur.

Patients should call or see their healthcare provider right away if they get any symptoms of the following problems or these symptoms get worse.

TECENTRIQ can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Lung Problems (pneumonitis) – Signs and symptoms of pneumonitis may include: new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Liver Problems (hepatitis) – Signs and symptoms of hepatitis may include: yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes, severe nausea or vomiting, pain on the right side of the stomach area (abdomen), drowsiness, dark urine (tea colored), bleeding or bruising more easily than normal, feeling less hungry than usual
  • Intestinal Problems (colitis) – Signs and symptoms of colitis may include: diarrhea (loose stools) or more bowel movements than usual, blood in the stools or dark, tarry, sticky stools, severe stomach area (abdomen) pain or tenderness
  • Hormone Gland Problems (especially the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas) – Signs and symptoms that the hormone glands are not working properly may include: headaches that will not go away or unusual headaches, extreme tiredness, weight gain or weight loss, dizziness or fainting, feeling more hungry or thirsty than usual, hair loss, changes in mood or behavior, such as decreased sex drive, irritability, or forgetfulness, feeling cold, constipation, voice gets deeper, urinating more often than usual, nausea or vomiting, stomach area (abdomen) pain
  • Nervous System Problems (neuropathy, meningitis, encephalitis) – Signs and symptoms of nervous system problems may include: severe muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in hands and feet, fever, confusion, changes in mood or behavior, extreme sensitivity to light, neck stiffness
  • Inflammation of the Eyes – Signs and symptoms may include blurry vision, double vision, other vision problems, eye pain or redness
  • Severe Infections – Signs and symptoms of infection may include: fever, cough, frequent urination, flu-like symptoms, pain when urinating
  • Severe Infusion Reactions – Signs and symptoms of infusion reactions may include: chills or shaking, itching or rash, flushing, shortness of breath or wheezing, dizziness, fever, feeling like passing out, back or neck pain, and swelling of the face or lips

Before receiving TECENTRIQ, patients should tell their healthcare provider about all of their medical conditions, including if they:

  • have immune system problems such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus; have had an organ transplant; have lung or breathing problems; have liver problems; have a condition that affects the nervous system, such as myasthenia gravis or Guillain-Barre syndrome; or are being treated for an infection.
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
    • TECENTRIQ can harm an unborn baby.
    • If patients are able to become pregnant, they should use an effective method of birth control during treatment and for at least 5 months after the last dose of TECENTRIQ.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
    • It is not known if TECENTRIQ passes into the breast milk.
    • Do not breastfeed during treatment and for at least 5 months after the last dose of TECENTRIQ.

Patients should tell their healthcare provider about all of the medicines they take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

The most common side effects of TECENTRIQ in non-small cell lung cancer include:

  • feeling tired
  • decreased appetite
  • shortness of breath
  • cough
  • nausea
  • constipation

TECENTRIQ may cause fertility problems in females, which may affect the ability to have children. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about fertility.

These are not all the possible side effects of TECENTRIQ. Patients should ask their healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.

Report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088, or Report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

Please visit for the TECENTRIQ full Prescribing Information for additional Important Safety Information.

About Genentech in Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy

For more than 30 years, Genentech has been developing medicines with the goal to redefine treatment in oncology. Today, we’re investing more than ever to bring personalized cancer immunotherapy (PCI) to people with cancer. The goal of PCI is to provide each person with a treatment tailored to harness his or her own immune system to fight cancer. Genentech is studying more than 20 investigational medicines, 10 of which are in clinical trials. In every study we are evaluating biomarkers to identify which people may be appropriate candidates for our medicines. For more information visit

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