Immunotherapies use the body’s immune system to fight cancer. In March, for the first time, the FDA approved an immunotherapy drug as a first-line treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
The drug, Tecentriq® (Atezolizumab), is a type of immunotherapy called a PD-L1 inhibitor. It had already been approved for other types of cancers. The new approval is for treating locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer that tests positive for PD-L1 when given along with the chemotherapy drug Abraxane® (nab-paclitaxel). The approval is based on progression-free survival data from the ongoing randomized, phase 3 IMpassion130 study (no longer recruiting as of April 1st, 2019).
In the links below you will find more information about the study findings that led to the drug’s approval.
There is one other immunotherapy that might be an option for a small number of metastatic breast cancer patients. It is the drug Keytruda® (Pembrolizumab), which was approved in May 2017 for patients with any type of metastatic solid tumor that is microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or has mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) and has progressed on other treatment. You can learn more about this approval here.
To learn more about immunotherapy, see the October 2018 issue of MTT.
To see all the clinical trials on PD-L1 immunotherapy, click here.
- Cancer Today: First Immunotherapy Approved for Breast Cancer
- Breastcancer.org: Tecentriq Approved as First Immunotherapy for Breast Cancer
- MedPage Today: Immunotherapy Wins First FDA Approval in Breast Cancer
- OncLive: FDA Issues Alert Regarding Efficacy and Safety of Atezolizumab/Paclitaxel in Breast Cancer (Sept. 8, 2020)