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Press Release

NICE gives green light to new immunotherapy for most common form of lung cancer

Posted on: 09 Apr 18

09 April 2018, Welwyn Garden City - Patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has progressed following standard chemotherapy, can now access Roche’s immunotherapy Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) via the NHS in England and Wales.[i] The new immunotherapy has been shown to significantly extend the lives of patients with advanced NSCLC versus chemotherapy, with fewer side effects.[ii]


We are delighted that NICE has revised its decision, meaning that people living with this devastating form of cancer will now have access to a much needed treatment," said Simon Eayrs, Integrated Franchise Lead at Roche Products Ltd. “This decision proves that patients are able to get access to new and innovative treatments when all parties work together to find a practical solution.”


The positive NICE decision was based on a Phase III study that showed people with NSCLC that were treated with atezolizumab lived a median of 13.8 months, 4.2 months longer than those receiving standard chemotherapy (HR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.62, 0.87 P= 0·0003).  Atezolizumab is a Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor, however it has also been shown to be an effective option for patients regardless of PDL1 expression.[ii]


Although by far the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, lung cancer still remains a much overlooked condition,” said Paula Chadwick, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s Chief Executive. “For many people living with advanced forms of lung cancer, every additional day of life provides opportunities to share time with their families, their friends and loved ones. That’s why treatments which offer them extra time are so valuable. It’s particularly exciting that atezolizumab is applicable for patients with such a wide variety of types of non-small cell lung cancer. While extending life as much as possible is a huge priority for patients, their quality of life is equally important. There is a need for treatments that will improve survival, without compromising the additional time added. This decision by NICE recognises these factors, and we welcome it. Immunotherapy is still a new and developing area, which may provide a brighter future for lung cancer patients and those who love them. Today is a good day for us – but a better one for lung cancer patients.”




Editor’s Notes

About atezolizumab

Atezolizumab is a cancer immunotherapy. It disarms the cancer of its cloak, which allows the body's smartest medicine - the immune system - to detect and destroy it. Atezolizumab blocks PD-L1 – an important ligand found on the surface of cancer cells that camouflage them from detection and destruction by the immune system.[iii] Atezolizumab is also being trialled as a treatment for a range of other cancers, alone and in combination, including: colorectal cancer (bowel cancer), breast cancer, renal cell cancer (kidney cancer), small cell lung cancer, other solid tumours, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and paediatric cancers.[iv] Atezolizumab is the first medicine in its class (PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors) approved in the UK as a first-line treatment for people with advanced or metastatic urothelial (bladder) cancer (mUC) for whom cisplatin-based chemotherapy is unsuitable.[v]


About Lung Cancer

Over 46,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year, with over 35,800 deaths annually.[vi] The prognosis for lung cancer patients is often poor, with fewer than 5% of all lung cancer patients surviving for ten years, experiencing high rates of recurrence and treatment resistance. [vi],[vii],[viii]


About 87% of lung cancers in the UK are non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). There are three common types of NSCLC (adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma), all grouped together because they behave and respond to treatment in a similar way.[ix]


About Roche

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostics that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life, safety and survival of patients. Twenty-eight medicines developed by Roche are included in the WHO Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.  Roche in the UK employs over 2,000 people in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. For more information:


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Adverse reaction reporting

This medicinal product is subject to additional monitoring. This will allow quick identification of new safety information. Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme: website or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.


Adverse events should also be reported to Roche Products Ltd. Please contact Roche Drug Safety Centre by emailing or calling +44(0)1707 367554.



Roche contact:                                                             Agency contact:                                           

David Flynn                                                                   Tabitha Grindrod

Tel: 01707 362 056                                                    Tel: 020 8939 2466

Email:                       Email: 


Editor's Details

Mike Wood

Last updated on: 09/04/2018

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