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Tecentriq (atezolizumab)

What is Tecentriq?

Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) is a treatment option for some patients with advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.1 It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating advanced or metastatic bladder cancer in 2016. Patients receive Tecentriq intravenously through in IV line that infuses medicine directly into a vein. There are typically three weeks between treatments with Tecentriq, and each infusion usually takes about 60 minutes.

How does it work?

Tecentriq is an immunotherapy drug for treating advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.1-3 Immunotherapy is a relatively new type of treatment that help enable the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. The main function of the immune system is to help protect the body from infections and diseases, as well as cancer cells.

Tecentriq is a type of immunotherapy called a PD-L1 inhibitor. It works by blocking a certain kind of protein—called PDL1—which is located on many cells in the body, including cancer cells. When PDL1 proteins on cancer cells attach to other kinds of proteins on immune system cells, it can prevent the body’s immune system from being able to target and kill the cancer cells. When Tecentriq blocks PD-L1 proteins, it can help the body’s immune system to target and fight cancer cells more effectively.

During the clinical trials to investigate the effect of Tecentriq treatment for advanced or metastatic bladder cancer, it had the effect of reducing the size of some patients’ tumors.

Who can take Tecentriq?

Tecentriq is only used to treat patients with bladder cancer that is advanced or metastatic, which means that the bladder cancer cells have spread beyond the bladder and potentially to other parts of the body.1,2 Healthcare providers can provide more information about whether Tecentriq can be used to treat a specific patient’s bladder cancer, but it is typically used to treat patients whose bladder cancer has spread or cannot be removed by surgery. It may also be prescribed for patients who cannot have chemotherapy that contains a medicine called cisplatin or for patients who have been treated with chemotherapy that contains platinum, but the treatment did not work well enough or stopped working.

Treatment with Tecentriq may not be appropriate for bladder cancer patients who are being treated for infections or who also have other types of conditions, including:

  • Immune system problems (including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus)
  • Lung or breathing problems
  • Liver problems
  • Nervous system problems
  • Endocrine disorders such as diabetes or thyroid disorders

Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding should tell their healthcare providers because Tecentriq may cause fetal harm. Women should use contraceptives during treatment and for 5 months after their last dose of Tecentriq.

What are the possible side effects?

In patients being treated with Tecentriq for advanced or metastatic bladder cancer, the most common side effects are 1,2:

Because Tecentriq may also affect the way that healthy cells function, as well as cancer cells, it can cause some very serious side effects. These include:

  • Lung problems
  • Liver problems
  • Intestinal problems
  • Hormone gland problems
  • Nervous system problems
  • Eye inflammation
  • Severe infections
  • Severe infusion reactions

If you are being treated with Tecentriq, your healthcare provider will tell you about the signs and symptoms of these serious side effects. It is very important to contact your healthcare provider right away if you experience any symptoms of these serious side effects during or after treatment with Tecentriq. This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Tecentriq. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist for further information.

Written by Anna Nicholson | Last review date: December 2018.
  1. Tecentriq. Accessed September 2017.
  2. TECENTRIQ. Prescribing Information. Genentech, Inc. April 2017.
  3. FDA approves new, targeted treatment for bladder cancer. FDA. May 2016.