In an Australian-first, an immunotherapy, anti-angiogenic and chemotherapy combination will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme on October 1, 2019 for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Atezolizumab (sold as Tecentriq) and bevacizumab (sold as Avastin) and a platinum-doublet chemotherapy will be reimbursed for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-squamous NSCLC, and for those with EGFR mutant or ALK-positive NSCLC after failure of appropriate targeted therapies.
Tecentriq, a checkpoint inhibitor, works to inhibit the interaction of the PD-L1 protein with PD-1 and B7.1 receptors, helping to enable the activation of T cells.
Combined with Avastin, an anti-angiogenic therapy that interferes with tumour blood supply, and chemotherapy, these therapies work together to enhance the body’s anti-cancer immunity.
Professor Stephen Clarke, medical oncologist from the Northern Cancer Institute, Sydney, has welcomed the reimbursement of an additional treatment option for those with NSCLC.
“Historically, we have seen limited improvement in lung cancer survival rates. This is partly due to therapeutic nihilism around the treatment of lung cancer, subsequent delays in referral and diagnosis, and a lack of systemic therapies offering patients long-term benefit,” said Professor Clarke.
Reimbursement of the combination therapy is based on positive results from the phase III clinical trial, IMpower150, which evaluated Tecentriq, Avastin, carboplatin and paclitaxel in patients with previously untreated metastatic non-squamous NSCLC, and mNSCLC patients with EGFR or ALK genomic alterations who had progressed on or had unacceptable toxicity from at least one other tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI).
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