Most individuals with bladder cancer cannot undergo chemotherapy due to fragile health, but a new immunotherapy drug offers a ray of hope to these people.
A new study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago reported that atezolizumab marketed as Tecentriq has shrunk bladder tumors and expanded the survival of patients with bladder cancer.
‘Immunotherapy drug Atezolizumab marketed as Tecentriq has shown potential to shrink tumors and expand survival rates of people with advanced bladder cancer.’
About 119 patients with advanced bladder cancer at the age of 73 years were administered with atezolizumab. They found that the about 24 percent of patients responded to Tecentriq, which shrank their tumors by at least 30 percent and in some cases caused their cancer to disappear.
Also, these patients were reported to be in remission. Their average overall survival was just under 15 months. About 10 to 15 percent of patients experienced severe side effects from Tecentriq such as hypothyroidism, liver problems and diarrhea.
The drug acts on the immune system and activates monoclonal antibodies, responsible for destroying tumors. These antibodies inhibit a specific genetic interaction that allows cancer cells to evade the immune cells.
The results were found to be slightly lesser effective than the currently available platinum-based chemotherapy for bladder cancer. USFDA approved atezolizumab drug for bladder cancer in May 2016.
"Immunotherapy really treats your body's immune system so your immune system can fight the cancer for you," said Dr. Arjun Balar, an assistant professor at NYU Langone Medical Center who treated some of the patients.
"Atezolizumab is the first therapy to be approved in more three decades for this disease, and it is the new standard of care for patients whose initial therapy with platinum-based chemotherapy drugs has failed," he added. "Indeed, it may be the only therapy some patients need."