News from the FDA/CDC

FDA expands approval of atezolizumab in NSCLC


The Food and Drug Administration has expanded the approved indication for atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

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Atezolizumab is now approved as first-line monotherapy for adults with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors are EGFR and ALK wild-type but have high PD-L1 expression (PD-L1 stained ≥50% of tumor cells or PD-L1 stained tumor-infiltrating immune cells covering ≥10% of the tumor area).

The FDA also approved the VENTANA PD-L1 (SP142) Assay as a companion diagnostic to identify patients with NSCLC who are eligible for treatment with atezolizumab.

The drug was evaluated in the IMpower110 trial (NCT02409342), which enrolled patients with stage IV, PD-L1–positive (tumor cells [TC] ≥1% or immune cells [IC] ≥1%) NSCLC who had received no prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease.

The patients were randomized to receive atezolizumab at 1,200 mg every 3 weeks (n = 286) or platinum-based chemotherapy (n = 263), which consisted of carboplatin or cisplatin with either pemetrexed or gemcitabine, until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

Overall survival was superior in the atezolizumab arm, but only among patients with high PD-L1 expression (TC ≥50% or IC ≥10%). The median overall survival was 20.2 months among PD-L1–high patients in the atezolizumab arm and 13.1 months among PD-L1–high patients in the chemotherapy arm (hazard ratio, 0.59; P = .0106). There was no significant difference in overall survival between the treatment arms for patients in the other two PD-L1 subgroups – TC ≥5% or IC ≥5% and TC ≥1% or IC ≥1%.

Serious adverse events occurred in 28% of patients receiving atezolizumab. The most frequent of these were pneumonia (2.8%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (2.1%), and pneumonitis (2.1%). Fatal adverse events in the atezolizumab arm included unexplained death, aspiration, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary embolism, acute myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest, mechanical ileus, sepsis, cerebral infraction, and device occlusion (one patient each).

For more details on atezolizumab, see the full prescribing information.

The FDA has granted the approval of atezolizumab to Genentech and the approval of the VENTANA PD-L1 (SP142) Assay to Ventana Medical Systems.

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