Adults in the UK with PD-L1 positive, unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) have won early access to Roche’s immunotherapy Tecentriq in combination with nab-paclitaxel chemotherapy.

The move follows a decision by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to include the drug in the country’s Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS), which provides patients access to innovative medicines before they are officially approved by the European Medicines Agency.

Roche will fund access to the treatment as per the terms of the EAMS agreement, under which TNBC patients whose tumours have PD-L1 expression ≥1% and who have not received prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease will be eligible for the scheme.

An estimated 15% of breast cancers in the UK are classed as TNBC, a small proportion of whom could be eligible to receive Tecentriq (atezolizumab), the firm noted.

“People with TNBC currently have poor clinical outcomes and treatments are limited, with chemotherapy being the main therapeutic option. Roche has worked closely with healthcare bodies to deliver access for patients to the innovative medicine atezolizumab as quickly as possible,” noted Lesley Hugo, Breast Cancer Franchise Lead at the Swiss drug giant.

Tecentriq in combination with Avastin (bevacizumab), carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy also joined the EAMS earlier this year for adult patients with metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with EGFR activating or ALK positive tumour mutations, after the failure of appropriate targeted therapies.