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Thursday 25 April 2019
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NICE recommends new immunotherapy for advanced lung cancer patients

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended new immunotherapy for people with advanced lung cancer.


Biotech company Roche has announced that patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has progressed following standard chemotherapy, can now access its immunotherapy Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) through the NHS in England and Wales.1


Tecentriq® is an urgent treatment for lung cancer patients, which is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. Atezolizumab is a cancer immunotherapy blocks PD-L1 – an important ligand found on the surface of cancer cells that camouflage them from detection and destruction by the immune system.2


Researchers have found the new immunotherapy can significantly extend the lives of patients with advanced NSCLC versus chemotherapy, with fewer side effects.3


Roche said this is the first immunotherapy where all NSCLC patients can benefit where previous treatments have only treated a subset of patients. 


We are delighted that NICE has revised its decision, meaning that people living with this devastating form of cancer will now have access to a much needed treatment," said Simon Eayrs, integrated franchise lead at Roche Products Ltd.


This decision proves that patients are able to get access to new and innovative treatments when all parties work together to find a practical solution,” he said.


NICE’s decision was based on a Phase III study that showed people with NSCLC that were treated with atezolizumab lived a median of 13.8 months - 4.2 months longer than those receiving standard chemotherapy (HR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.62, 0.87 P= 0·0003).  Atezolizumab is a Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor, however it has also been shown to be an effective option for patients regardless of PDL1 expression.3


Atezolizumab is also being trialled as a treatment for a range of other cancers, alone and in combination, including: colorectal cancer (bowel cancer), breast cancer, renal cell cancer (kidney cancer), small cell lung cancer, other solid tumours, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and paediatric cancers.4


It is the first medicine in its class (PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors) approved in the UK as a first-line treatment for people with advanced or metastatic urothelial (bladder) cancer  for whom cisplatin-based chemotherapy is unsuitable.5



  1. NICE (2018). Final appraisal document: Atezolizumab for treating locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer after chemotherapy.
  2. National Cancer Institute (2016) Definition of atezolizumab. NCI Drug Dictionary. [online] Available at: [Last accessed: April 2018]
  3. Rittmeyer, A., et al. Atezolizumab versus docetaxel in patients with previously treated non-small-cell lung cancer (OAK): a phase 3, open-label, multicentre randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. 2017;255–265.
  4. Roche Data on File: RXUKCOMM01580a
  5. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2017). Atezolizumab for untreated locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma where cisplatin is unsuitable.

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