Roche’s Tecentriq (atezolizumab) has won US clearance for use in combination with carboplatin and etoposide (chemotherapy) as first-line treatment for extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) in the US, offering patients the first new treatment in more than 20 years.

The approval follows data from the Phase III IMpower133 study, which showed that Tecentriq in combination with chemotherapy helped people live significantly longer compared to chemotherapy alone (median overall survival [12.3 vs. 10.3 months, respectively).

The Tecentriq-based combination also significantly reduced the risk of disease worsening or death (progression-free survival, PFS) compared to chemotherapy alone (5.2 versus 4.3 months, respectively).

“Tecentriq is the first cancer immunotherapy approved for the initial treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer, which is especially difficult to treat,” said Sandra Horning, Roche’s chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development.

“Until now, there have been limited treatment advances for this disease, and we are excited to bring a potential new standard of care to patients that has been shown to improve survival compared to chemotherapy.”