Atezolizumab is in clinical development for stage IV non-squamous or squamous non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC makes up the majority of lung cancers in the UK.
Stage IV (advanced/metastatic) NSCLC is when the cancer has spread beyond the lung which was initially affected, most often to the liver, the adrenal glands, the bones, and the
brain. Most patients with NSCLC are diagnosed at the advanced/metastatic stage where curative treatment with surgery is unsuitable. Currently, chemotherapy remains the main
first line option at this stage and often not well tolerated by many patients.
Atezolizumab is a monoclonal antibody against the protein, programed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), which is highly expressed on certain tumours. This overexpression can lead to
reduced activation of immune cells that might otherwise recognise and attack cancer cells. By attaching to PD-L1 and reducing its effect, atezolizumab increases the ability of the
immune system to attack cancer cells and thereby slows the progression of the disease. If licensed, atezolizumab will offer an additional treatment option for patients with
untreated stage IV squamous or non-squamous NSCLC.
Brigatinib is a medicinal product that is being developed for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease have progressed following treatment with alectinib or ceritinib. NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer although a small proportion of NSCLC patients have a rearrangement in the ALK gene. Locally advanced or metastatic cancer means cancer has spread outside the lungs where it started, to other parts of the body and cannot be cured. Current treatment with drugs such as alectinib or ceritinib are effective in slowing the disease and helping patients to live longer, although some patients eventually develop treatment resistance and will require other therapies.