Tecentriq® (atezolizumab)

Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) is a drug used to treat adults with a type of bladder cancer called urothelial carcinoma. It may be used when your bladder cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic) or is locally advanced (cancer has progressed within the bladder region) and:1

  • You cannot receive chemotherapy that contains cisplatin and your cancer is positive for PD-L1, or
  • You cannot receive any platinum chemotherapy, whether your cancer is PD-L1 positive or not.

Tecentriq was granted accelerated approval to treat urothelial carcinoma by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA may give accelerated approval to drugs that treat a health condition with few or no other treatments. This means drugs like Tecentriq can become available sooner. However, they typically require ongoing studies to confirm the benefits of the drug.2

Tecentriq is also used to treat some other forms of cancer.1

What are the ingredients in Tecentriq?

The active ingredient in Tecentriq is atezolizumab.1

How does Tecentriq work?

Tecentriq is an immunotherapy drug for treating certain forms of advanced or metastatic bladder cancer. Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer. PD-L1 is a protein on some cancer cells that can help tumors grow and survive by preventing the body’s immune response from targeting the cancer cells. Tecentriq attaches to PD-L1 and stops it from blocking the immune response. Blocking PD-L1 can result in decreased tumor size and less tumor growth for some people.1-3

What are the possible side effects of Tecentriq?

The most common side effects of Tecntriq include:1-3

  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Because Tecentriq may also affect the way that healthy cells function, it may also cause serious side effects. Get medical help right away if you have side effects such as:1-3

  • Lung problems – Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
  • Liver problems – Yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes, nausea or vomiting that is severe, stomach pain, dark urine, easy bruising, and bleeding
  • Intestinal problems (colitis) – Diarrhea, severe stomach pain, stools that have blood or mucus or are dark and tarry
  • Hormone gland problems – Headaches, tiredness, weight changes, dizziness, fainting, hair loss, mood changes, constipation, frequent urination
  • Skin problems – Itching, rash, lymph node swelling, blisters on the skin, skin peeling, ulcers/sores of the mouth, throat, nose, or genitals
  • Kidney problems - Bloody urine, ankle swelling, decreased appetite, making less urine
  • Problems in other organs – Weakness, numbness, confusion, eye pain or vision problems, mood changes, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, swelling around the ankles, flu-like symptoms, fever
  • Infusion reactions – Fever, itching, rash, flushing, shortness of breath, dizziness, feeling faint, back or neck pain, shaking, chills

Your doctor will check you for these side effects during treatment with Tecentriq. If certain side effects occur, your doctor may treat you with steroids or hormone replacement drugs. They may also delay or stop your treatment with Tecentriq if you have serious side effects.1-3

These are not all the possible side effects of Tecentriq. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Tecentriq. You should also call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Tecentriq.

Things to know about Tecentriq for bladder cancer

Before taking Tecentriq, tell your doctor if you have:1-3

  • Immune system problems like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus;
  • Had an organ transplant;
  • Had or plan to have a stem cell transplant;
  • Had chest area radiation therapy;
  • A condition that affects your nervous system, such as myasthenia gravis or Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Tecentriq can harm an unborn baby. If you can become pregnant, you should use birth control during treatment and for some time after the last dose of Tecentriq. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Tecentriq and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking Tecentriq.1-3

Before beginning treatment for bladder cancer, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Tecentriq.

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Written by: Karen Berger | Last reviewed: September 2021

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