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The drug, Tecentriq from Switzerland’s Roche, works like other immunotherapies including Merck’s Keytruda and Opdivo from Bristol Myers Squibb, helping take the brakes off the immune system so it can attack tumours.
While regarded as an important treatment breakthrough, this class of drugs has so far been largely deployed against advanced lung cancer that has metastasized, attacking other organs including the brain.
This new data, released at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, demonstrates that deploying Tecentriq earlier, when surgery is still possible, can help delay recurrence of cancer, scientists said.
“Though surgery can cure some patients with early-stage lung cancer, disease recurrence is still very common,” Stanford University Medical professor Heather Wakelee, the lead study author, said.
“Until this trial, the only treatment that was known to help reduce that risk for most patients was chemotherapy.”
In Roche’s trial, Tecentriq helped patients with stage II-III lung cancer survive disease-free for a median of 42.3 months following surgery