As a result of two studies showing the efficacy of atezolizumab, Martin Reck, MD, says the antibody can change treatment strategies for refractory lung cancer.

“In the BIRCH trial the PD-L1 antibody atezolizumab showed a remarkable activity in a large number of patients regardless of the line of treatment,” said Reck. “The profile of adverse events is in line with reported data from other PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors and overall tolerability looks quite favourable. The efficacy as shown by the response rate was in correlation with PD-L1 expression on tumour and immune cells favouring tumours with high PD-L1 expression.”

“In confirmation the randomised POPLAR trial reported a superior overall survival for unselected patients who received atezolizumab as second-line treatment compared to docetaxel,” continued Reck. “Again efficacy could be correlated to the PD-L1 expression status with the highest overall survival benefit in patients with TC3 and IC3 (high PD-L1 expressing tumours). The data have to be validated by a large randomised phase III trial, which is ongoing.”

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