Late-stage trial data published in The Lancet show that Roche's Tecentriq significantly extended survival in patients with previously-treated advanced non-small cell lung cancer taking the immunotherapy versus those on chemotherapy.

According to results of the Phase III OAK study, the checkpoint inhibitor helped people in the overall study population live significantly longer than those treated with docetaxel regardless of PD-L1 expression or disease histology.

In the intent to treat population, overall survival in the Tecentriq (atezolizumab) group was 13.8 months versus 9.6 months in the docetazel arm, while that in the population with PD-L1-expression 1 percent or more was 15.7 months vs 10.3 months, respectively.

Patients in the PD-L1 low or undetectable subgroup also had improved survival with Roche's drug, with median overall survival of 12.6 months versus 8.9 months for the chemotherapy group.

Also of note, less patients had treatment-related grade 3 or 4 adverse events with Tecentriq that docetaxel, with 15 percent compared to 43 percent, respectively.

"This is another great example of how research into the immune system can deliver powerful new treatments," said Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, in a news report on the charity's website.

"This new era of cancer treatment provides hope for several cancer types, especially lung cancer and melanoma, that were previously really hard to treat effectively."