Roche’s Genentech has presented positive Phase III results for Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy, in people with previously untreated advanced bladder cancer.

The IMvigor130 study evaluated the drug with platinum-based chemotherapy compared to chemotherapy alone for the first-line treatment of people with previously untreated locally advanced or metastatic versions of the disease, who are eligible and ineligible for cisplatin chemotherapy.

In the study, the Tecentriq combo showed a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival of 8.2 versus 6.3 months, as well as encouraging overall survival (OS) results.

Despite the results, which were presented at European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2019 Congress, the data did not reach statistical significance at the interim analysis.

Sandra Horning, chief medical officer and head of global product development said that the company is “pleased with these positive results from the IMvigor130 study, which show Tecentriq plus chemotherapy may provide a meaningful benefit for people newly diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer,” as there “remains a high unmet need for people with advanced bladder cancer, where chemotherapy alone is the current standard of care. These results reinforce the role of immunotherapy in treating this aggressive disease.”

Currently, there are four ongoing Phase III studies evaluating Tecentriq alone and in combination with other medicines in early and advanced bladder cancer. Genentech has an extensive development program for Tecentriq, including multiple ongoing and planned Phase III studies, across lung, genitourinary, skin, breast, gastrointestinal, gynecological and head and neck cancers.

Most cases of bladder cancer appear to be caused by exposure to harmful substances, which lead to abnormal changes in the bladder's cells over many years.

Tobacco smoke is a common cause and it's estimated that more than one in three cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking.