In 2013, more people died of lung cancer worldwide than any other cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It is reported that nearly 1.6 million people die of lung cancer each year. There are two main forms of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which is the most common and accounts for 85% of all cases, and small cell lung cancer. NSCLC can be non-squamous, which grows near the center of the lung, and non-squamous, with flat cells that cover the airway surface.
Significant advances have been made in the treatment of lung cancer. One of the most important new classes of drugs are PD-L1 inhibitors. These drugs block the action of the PD-L1 protein, which is expressed on tumor and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, and thus enable the activation of T-cells.
Roche’s PD-L1 inhibitor is Tecentriq (atezolizumab). It is designed to be used as “foundational combination partner with cancer immunotherapies, targeted medicines and various chemotherapies across a broad range of cancers,” according to the company. Teqentriq is approved in the European Union, United States and more than 70 countries for people with previously treated metastatic NSCLC and for people with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer (mUC) who are not eligible for cisplatin chemotherapy, or who have had disease progression during or following platinum-containing therapy.
Roche is currently pursuing eight Phase 3 lung cancer trials with Tecentriq alone or in combination with other medicines. The company recently announced that its Phase III IMpower130 study with Tecentriq in combination with chemotherapy (carboplatin and Abraxane [albumin-bound paclitaxel; nab-paclitaxel]) met its co-primary endpoints of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). People with advanced non-squamous NSCLC receiving the combination treatment as a first-line therapy lived significantly longer than those receiving chemotherapy alone. The risk of a worsening of the disease or death was also reduced. In addition, no new safety issues were identified.
“The results of the IMpower130 study add to the growing evidence showing the clinical benefit of Tecentriq-based combinations in the treatment of advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer,” said Sandra Horning, MD, Roche’s Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development. “We will share these results with global health authorities with the goal of bringing this potential treatment option to people with this disease.”
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