Roche Korea (CEO: Matt Sause) said Wednesday that the country’s first anti PD-L1 immunotherapy Tecentriq (atezolizumab) snagged national reimbursement in January as a second-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer and recurring urothelial cancer.
The drug also won approval as a first-line therapy for a type of urothelial cancer last week, company officials said at a news conference in Seoul Wednesday.
“There isn’t much interest or usable therapies for urothelial cancers,” said Professor Rha Sun-young from Severance Hospital’s department of oncology who spoke at the conference. “In this regard, Roche was smart by starting at a different place from Keytruda and Opdivo.”
|Professor Rha Sun-young from Severance Hospital’s department of oncology explains the clinical efficacy and safety of Tecentriq at a news conference Wednesday.|
Tecentriq is a cancer immunotherapy that is targeted to bind to a protein called programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). It was the first-FDA approved therapy for bladder cancer patients to appear in more than 30 years, according to Genentech. It is the third therapy to have gained approval to treat non-small cell lung cancer in Korea.
But despite being a latecomer, Professor Ahn Myung-ju from Samsung Medical Center said the drug proved safe and effective for PD-L1 patients with progressive non-small cell lung cancer in the phase 3 OAK study.
Professor Kim Se-hyun from Seoul National University Bundang Hospital noted that the approval for the drug had added a standard of care for patients who have urothelial cancer who cannot get cisplatin-containing chemotherapy treatment.
“So far, the first recommended standard therapy for locally advanced or metastatic urinary epithelial cancer was cisplatin-containing combination chemotherapy, but in reality, doctors cannot administer it in about 50 percent of patients due to aging, system depression or decreased renal function,” Professor Kim said. “Patients with a high risk of the toxicity from anticancer drugs were forced to rely on supportive care without the opportunity for treatment.”
The therapy now offers more patients a wider range of choices for effective and safe treatment, the professor added.
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