Tecentriq is a brand-name prescription drug that’s used to treat certain types of cancer. Specifically, Tecentriq is FDA-approved for certain uses in adults with the following types of cancer:

For information on how Tecentriq can be used for these types of cancer, see the section “Tecentriq uses” below.

Details

Tecentriq contains the drug atezolizumab. It’s an immunotherapy drug, which means it works with your immune system to fight off cancer.

Tecentriq comes as a solution that’s given by intravenous (IV) infusion. (With an IV infusion, the drug is given into your vein over a period of time.) You’ll receive Tecentriq infusions from a healthcare provider.

Tecentriq hasn’t been studied in children. Because of this, it’s not known if the drug is safe or effective for use in people younger than 18 years old.

Effectiveness

Tecentriq has been found effective in treating each of the types of cancer listed above. For information on Tecentriq’s effectiveness, see the section “Tecentriq uses” below.

Tecentriq is available only as a brand-name medication. It’s not currently available in generic form. (A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.)

Tecentriq contains the active drug atezolizumab.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Tecentriq to treat certain conditions. Tecentriq may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Tecentriq for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)

Tecentriq is FDA-approved to treat triple-negative breast cancer.* Breast cancer happens when certain cells in your breast start multiplying (making more cells) more quickly than usual.

With TNBC, the breast cancer doesn’t have receptors (attachment sites) for the hormones estrogen and progesterone. And the cancer also lacks proteins called human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) receptors.

For TNBC, Tecentriq can be used if your cancer:

  • is either metastatic (has spread from your breast to other parts of your body) or it can’t be removed by surgery, and
  • has PD-L1 proteins (immune system proteins that help your body recognize and fight cancer)

For this use, Tecentriq is given along with a chemotherapy drug called paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane). (Chemotherapy describes traditional drugs used to treat cancer.)

TNBC doesn’t have hormone receptors, so it’s not a form of cancer that’s stimulated to grow by hormones. Because of this, hormone treatments, such as anastrozole (Arimidex), don’t work to treat TNBC. (Hormone treatments are used for certain forms of cancer that have receptors for hormones.)

TNBC is an aggressive type of breast cancer that’s sometimes difficult to treat. However, Tecentriq (used in combination with paclitaxel protein-bound) has been effective in treating TNBC in clinical trials.

* For this use, Tecentriq received accelerated approval from the FDA. Accelerated approval is based on information from early clinical trials. The FDA’s decision for full approval will be made after additional clinical trials are completed.

Effectiveness for TNBC

In clinical trials, Tecentriq was tested in people with TNBC whose cancer was either metastatic or couldn’t be removed with surgery. About half of the people in one study had used chemotherapy in the past for their cancer before the cancer became metastatic.

In this study, Tecentriq was given with paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane). This combination of drugs was compared to treatment with a placebo (no active drug) plus Abraxane.

The study showed that of people taking Tecentriq with Abraxane, 53% had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. And half of the people went about 7.5 months without their tumor growing or getting worse.

In comparison, of people taking a placebo with Abraxane, 33% had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. And half of the people went about 5 months without their tumor growing or getting worse.

Tecentriq for small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

Tecentriq is FDA-approved to treat extensive-stage small cell lung cancer. For this use, Tecentriq is approved for use as first-line treatment. (With first-line treatment, the drug is the first treatment given for the condition.)

SCLC is a type of cancer that causes certain cells in your lungs to grow abnormally and more quickly than usual. With extensive-stage SCLC, the lung cancer has spread to your other lung or throughout your body.

If you’re using Tecentriq to treat extensive-stage SCLC, you’ll take Tecentriq along with two chemotherapy drugs: carboplatin and etoposide. (Chemotherapy describes traditional drugs used to treat cancer.)

Effectiveness for SCLC

In clinical studies, Tecentriq was given along with carboplatin and etoposide to people with extensive-stage SCLC. People included in one study hadn’t ever used chemotherapy in the past to treat their SCLC.

The study compared treatment with Tecentriq plus carboplatin and etoposide to treatment with a placebo (no active drug) plus carboplatin and etoposide.

Of people taking the Tecentriq combination, 50% were still alive after about 12 months of treatment. And after about 5 months of treatment, in half of people in this group, their tumor hadn’t grown or gotten worse.

In comparison, of people taking the placebo combination, 50% were still alive after about 10 months of treatment. And after about 4 months, in half of the people in this group, their tumor hadn’t grown or gotten worse.

Tecentriq for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Tecentriq is FDA-approved to treat non-small cell lung cancer. With NSCLC, certain cells in your lungs grow abnormally and more quickly than usual.

Tecentriq when used alone for NSCLC

Tecentriq may be used alone to treat NSCLC. In this case, you must have NSCLC that’s metastatic (has spread to other parts of your body). And you must have used chemotherapy drugs made with platinum in the past, but your cancer got worse during or after therapy with those drugs. (Chemotherapy describes traditional drugs used to treat cancer.)

In addition, if your cancer has either EGFR or ALK gene mutations,* you must have used a drug that’s FDA-approved to treat cancer with those abnormal genes. But the treatment either didn’t work or it isn’t working any longer.

* EGFR and ALK mutations are abnormal gene changes that may cause NSCLC cancer to grow in your body.

Tecentriq when used with other drugs for NSCLC

Tecentriq is also approved for use in combination with other medications to treat NSCLC. In this case, Tecentriq can be used to treat non-squamous NSCLC that’s metastatic. (With non-squamous NSCLC, the cancer doesn’t affect certain cells called squamous cells in your lungs.)

For this use, Tecentriq is approved for use as people’s first treatment for their metastatic cancer. But the drug is only given if their NSCLC doesn’t have EGFR or ALK gene mutations.*

In this case, Tecentriq is used with bevacizumab (Avastin), paclitaxel, and carboplatin. Or instead, Tecentriq may be used with paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane) and carboplatin.

* EGFR and ALK mutations are abnormal gene changes that may cause NSCLC cancer to grow in your body.

Effectiveness for NSCLC

In clinical trials, Tecentriq was an effective treatment in people with NSCLC. For different forms of this condition, Tecentriq can be used either alone or with other medications.

Effectiveness of Tecentriq with Avastin, paclitaxel, and carboplatin

Clinical trials looked at Tecentriq treatment in people with non-squamous NSCLC that was metastatic. In one study, some people were given Tecentriq along with bevacizumab (Avastin), paclitaxel, and carboplatin. Other people were given either bevacizumab, paclitaxel, and carboplatin, or they were given Tecentriq, paclitaxel, and carboplatin.

  • Of people taking Tecentriq with Avastin, paclitaxel, and carboplatin, 55% had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. Half of the people in this group went 8.5 months without their tumor growing or getting worse. And after just over 19 months of treatment, half of the people in this group were still alive.
  • In comparison, of people taking Avastin, paclitaxel, and carboplatin, 42% had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. Half of the people in this group went 7 months without their tumor growing or getting worse. And after a little over 14.5 months, half of the people in this group were still alive.
  • And in people taking Tecentriq, paclitaxel, and carboplatin, 43% had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. Half of the people in this group went 6.7 months without their tumor growing or getting worse. And after just less than 19.5 months, half of the people in this group were still alive.

Effectiveness of Tecentriq with Abraxane and carboplatin

A clinical trial was done in people with metastatic non-squamous NSCLC. In this study, people either took Tecentriq with both paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane) and carboplatin, or people took only Abraxane and carboplatin. People included in this study hadn’t ever used chemotherapy in the past to treat their metastatic NSCLC.

  • Of people taking Tecentriq with Abraxane and carboplatin, 46% had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. After a little over 7 months, half of the people in this group hadn’t had their tumor grow or worsen. And half of the people in this group were still alive after 18.6 months.
  • In comparison, of people taking only Abraxane and carboplatin, 32% had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. After 6.5 months, half of the people in this group hadn’t had their tumor grow or worsen. And half of the people in this group were still alive after nearly 14 months.

Effectiveness of Tecentriq when used alone

In studies, treatment of NSCLC with Tecentriq alone was compared to treatment with docetaxel (Taxotere). In one study, people had NSCLC that was either locally advanced (had spread to nearby areas) or metastatic. And the people’s disease had worsened either during or after treatment with chemotherapy that’s made with platinum.

  • In this study, of people taking Tecentriq, half were still alive after nearly 14 months of treatment. And half the people in this group hadn’t had their tumor grow or worsen after about 3 months of treatment.
  • In comparison, of people taking docetaxel, half were still alive after 9.6 months of treatment. And half the people in this group hadn’t had their tumor grow or worsen after 4 months of treatment.

Tecentriq for bladder cancer

Tecentriq is FDA-approved to treat a certain type of bladder cancer. With bladder cancer, the cells in your bladder grow abnormally or more quickly than usual.

Type of bladder cancer that Tecentriq treats

There are many different types of bladder cancer. However, Tecentriq is only approved to treat a specific type of bladder cancer called urothelial carcinoma.* This form of cancer is the most common type of bladder cancer. In addition to affecting your bladder, it may also affect your urinary tract, which includes your ureters, urethra, and certain parts of your kidneys.

Tecentriq is approved to treat urothelial cancer that’s either metastatic (has spread to other parts of your body) or locally advanced (has spread to nearby areas).

If you have urothelial cancer, you may be able to use Tecentriq for your condition if one of the following also applies:

  • You’re unable to take chemotherapy** that’s made with a drug called cisplatin, and your cancer has PD-L1 proteins (immune system proteins that help your body recognize and fight cancer).
  • You’re unable to take chemotherapy that’s made with platinum.
  • Your cancer worsened either during or after taking chemotherapy that’s made with platinum.
  • Your cancer worsened within 12 months of adjuvant therapy (treatment to prevent cancer from coming back after it’s already been treated).
  • Your cancer worsened within 12 months of neoadjuvant therapy (treatment that’s used before surgery to treat your cancer).

* For this use, Tecentriq received accelerated approval from the FDA. Accelerated approval is based on information from early clinical trials. The FDA’s decision for full approval will be made after additional clinical trials are completed.

** Chemotherapy describes traditional drugs used to treat cancer.

Effectiveness for bladder cancer

In clinical trials, Tecentriq was effective in treating certain forms of urothelial cancer.

In one study, Tecentriq was tested in people with urothelial cancer that either couldn’t be removed with surgery or had spread to other areas of their body. And the people’s cancer had either:

  • worsened during or after cancer treatment with chemotherapy made with platinum, or
  • worsened within 12 months of receiving adjuvant or neoadjuvant treatment with chemotherapy that was made with platinum

No one in this study took a placebo (no active drug). Instead, everyone took Tecentriq until either their tumor got worse or their side effects were bothersome or severe enough to disrupt their daily lives.

In this study, of people taking Tecentriq, 14.8% had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. And after nearly 30 months of treatment, half of the people in the study had kept this response.

Ongoing study of Tecentriq for bladder cancer

There’s also a study that’s currently being done to test Tecentriq treatment for urothelial cancer. This study includes people who:

  • have had their cancer spread to other areas of their body,
  • can take chemotherapy that’s made with platinum, and
  • haven’t taken any medications in the past to treat their cancer

The results of this study haven’t been reported yet. But people in the study are being given one of the following treatment regimens:

  • Tecentriq alone
  • a chemotherapy drug called gemcitabine, used in combination with a placebo and chemotherapy that’s made with platinum (either carboplatin or cisplatin)
  • Tecentriq in combination with gemcitabine and one other chemotherapy drug that’s made with platinum (either cisplatin or carboplatin)

Off-label use of Tecentriq

In addition to the uses listed above, Tecentriq may be used off-label. Off-label drug use is when a drug that’s approved for one use is used for a different one that’s not approved. Below, we describe an example of an off-label use for Tecentriq.

Tecentriq for renal cell carcinoma

At this time, Tecentriq isn’t FDA-approved to treat renal cell carcinoma. (Renal cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer.) However, the drug is currently being studied as a treatment option for this condition. And sometimes it may be used off-label for renal cell carcinoma.

Currently, a clinical trial is testing Tecentriq when used in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin) to treat renal cell carcinoma. The study is testing treatment with these two medications compared to treatment with sunitinib (Sutent). (Sutent is approved to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma.)

Some results of this study have already been published and have showed that Tecentriq plus bevacizumab may be effective for renal cell carcinoma. But the clinical trial is still ongoing, and the drug hasn’t been approved yet for this use.

If you’d like to know more about treatment options for renal cell carcinoma, talk with your doctor.

When used to treat certain types of cancer, Tecentriq is given in combination with the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane). (Chemotherapy describes traditional drugs used to treat cancer.)

For example, Tecentriq and Abraxane are approved for use together, along with carboplatin, to treat non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).* For this use, the drugs are given to treat non-squamous NSCLC that’s metastatic (has spread to other parts of your body).

This combination of drugs is approved for use as a first treatment for this form of lung cancer. And the drugs should only be used if the cancer doesn’t have EGFR or ALK gene mutations.**

In addition, Tecentriq and Abraxane are approved for use together to treat triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).*** In this case, the two drugs are used in people whose cancer either can’t be surgically removed or is metastatic (has spread to other parts of their body). And their cancer must also have PD-L1 proteins, which are immune system proteins that help your body recognize and fight cancer.

For more information on other drugs that may also be used with Tecentriq, see the section “Tecentriq use with other drugs” below. And to learn more about the forms of cancer that Tecentriq and Abraxane are used together to treat, see the section “Tecentriq uses” above.

* Non-squamous NSCLC is a form of lung cancer that doesn’t affect certain cells called squamous cells in your lungs.

** EGFR and ALK mutations are abnormal gene changes that may cause NSCLC cancer to grow in your body.

*** TNBC is a form of breast cancer that doesn’t have receptors (attachment sites) for certain hormones and also lacks certain proteins.

In addition to Abraxane (discussed above), Tecentriq may be used along with other medications. Whether or not Tecentriq is used with other drugs depends on the type of cancer that’s being treated.

Following is information about some of the other drugs that are sometimes used with Tecentriq.

Tecentriq with other drugs when treating SCLC

When used for extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC),* Tecentriq is given with other medications. In this case, Tecentriq is approved for use as the first treatment option in combination with two chemotherapy drugs: carboplatin and etoposide. (Chemotherapy describes traditional drugs used to treat cancer.)

* With extensive-stage SCLC, the lung cancer has spread to your other lung or throughout your body.

Tecentriq with other drugs when treating non-squamous NSCLC

When used for non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC),* Tecentriq is used with three other drugs: bevacizumab (Avastin), paclitaxel, and carboplatin.

In this case, the cancer must be metastatic (spread to other parts of your body). This combination of drugs is approved as a first treatment option for this type of lung cancer. And it should only be used if your cancer doesn’t have EGFR or ALK gene mutations.**

In addition, Tecentriq is approved for use in combination with both paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane) and carboplatin to treat the same type of non-squamous NSCLC just described.

For more information about using Tecentriq in combination with Abraxane, see the section “Tecentriq and Abraxane” above. And to learn more about the forms of cancer described here, see the section “Tecentriq uses” above.

* With non-squamous NSCLC, the lung cancer doesn’t affect certain cells called squamous cells in your lungs.

** EGFR and ALK mutations are abnormal gene changes that may cause NSCLC cancer to grow in your body.

Tecentriq with paclitaxel vs. Tecentriq with paclitaxel protein-bound

For certain uses, Tecentriq is given with either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane).

It’s important to note that the difference between paclitaxel and paclitaxel protein-bound is the way the drugs dissolve in a liquid solution. When each drug is dissolved, the resulting solutions contain the same active drug: paclitaxel. However, in your body, paclitaxel solution may cause more side effects than paclitaxel protein-bound solution does.

If you have questions about using paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound, talk with your doctor.

Tecentriq can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Tecentriq. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Tecentriq, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Tecentriq, you can do so through MedWatch.

Your side effects may vary from those listed below, depending on the condition you’re using Tecentriq to treat. You side effects may also vary if you’re using other drugs with Tecentriq.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects of Tecentriq can include:*

  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • cough
  • trouble breathing
  • decreased appetite
  • constipation
  • hair loss
  • headache
  • diarrhea

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Tecentriq. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or visit Tecentriq’s Medication Guide.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Tecentriq aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Severe infusion reactions (reactions that occur during or shortly after you’ve had a drug infused into your body). Symptoms can include:
    • chills
    • itching or rash
    • trouble breathing
    • swelling in your face or lips
    • dizziness
    • fever
  • Lung problems that are caused by your immune system, such as pneumonitis (inflammation in your lungs). Symptoms can include:
    • chest pain
    • trouble breathing
    • new or worsening cough
  • Liver problems that are caused by your immune system, such as hepatitis (inflammation in your liver). Symptoms can include:
    • yellowing of the whites of your eyes or your skin
    • nausea or vomiting
    • belly pain
  • Intestinal problems that are caused by your immune system, such as colitis (inflammation in your colon). Symptoms can include:
    • diarrhea
    • blood in your stool
    • severe belly pain
  • Changes that are caused by your immune system to certain glands that make hormones. These glands include your thyroid, pancreas, adrenals, and pituitary. Symptoms can include:
    • headaches
    • feeling tired
    • changes in your weight (may be either weight gain or weight loss)
    • feeling more hungry or thirsty than usual
    • nausea or vomiting
    • belly pain
    • changes in your mood, such as feeling more irritated than usual
  • Eye problems, such as uveitis (inflammation in your eye). Symptoms can include:
    • pain or redness in your eye
    • seeing double or having other vision problems
  • Heart problems, such as myocarditis (inflammation in your heart muscle). Symptoms can include:
    • chest pain
    • irregular heartbeat
    • trouble breathing
    • feeling confused

Other serious side effects, which are discussed below in “Side effect details,” include:

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on several of the side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Tecentriq. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

It’s not known how many people had an allergic reaction while taking Tecentriq during studies. However, in one study of people with bladder or urinary tract cancer, 0.8% stopped taking Tecentriq due to allergic reaction.

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Tecentriq. But call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Fatigue

Fatigue (lack of energy) is a common side effect of Tecentriq. If you’re fatigued, you may feel tired or like you need to rest.

In clinical trials, fatigue was reported in 39% to 61% of people taking Tecentriq. (This percentage varied depending on the type of cancer being treated.) In comparison, fatigue occurred in 33% to 60% of people taking other medications or a placebo (no active drug). These other medications included bevacizumab (Avastin), paclitaxel, paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane), carboplatin, and docetaxel (Taxotere).

If you feel fatigued while you’re taking Tecentriq, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to help improve your energy level.

Nausea

It’s common to feel nauseous while you’re taking Tecentriq. In clinical trials, nausea occurred in 18% to 50% of people taking Tecentriq. (This percentage varied depending on the type of cancer being treated.)

In comparison, nausea occurred in 23% to 46% of people taking other medications or a placebo (no active drug). These other medications included bevacizumab (Avastin), paclitaxel, paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane), carboplatin, and docetaxel (Taxotere).

In addition, nausea occurred more often in people taking multiple medications to treat their cancer than in people taking Tecentriq alone.

During Tecentriq treatment, if you have nausea that’s bothersome to you, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce your nausea.

Hair loss

It’s possible to have hair loss during Tecentriq treatment. Some people taking Tecentriq during clinical trials reported hair loss.

It’s important to note that when Tecentriq was used alone to treat certain types of cancer, hair loss wasn’t reported. However, when certain other medications were used with Tecentriq, hair loss was reported in 32% to 56% of people. (This percentage varied depending on the type of cancer being treated.) In comparison, 27% to 58% of people taking those certain cancer drugs alone or with a placebo (no active drug) had hair loss.

The certain other medications used in the studies include:

  • bevacizumab (Avastin)
  • paclitaxel
  • paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane)
  • carboplatin

Keep in mind that paclitaxel and carboplatin are both chemotherapy drugs that are known to cause hair loss. (Chemotherapy describes traditional drugs used to treat cancer.)

If you have hair loss during your cancer treatment, and it’s bothersome to you, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to help decrease this side effect.

Infections

Tecentriq can increase your risk of infections, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI) and pneumonia. Sometimes, these infections can be serious or even lead to death. Symptoms of infection vary, depending on which infection you have, but they may include:

  • fever
  • cough or trouble breathing
  • flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue (lack of energy)
  • pain or burning when urinating

In clinical trials, 42% of people taking Tecentriq alone had an infection during treatment. (This percentage includes people taking Tecentriq to treat any of the types of cancer that it’s approved for.)

Specifically, in people taking Tecentriq for urinary tract or bladder cancer, the most common serious infection was UTI. About 6.5% of people in the trials had a serious UTI while taking the drug. And in people taking Tecentriq for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common serious infection was pneumonia. About 3.8% of people in the trials had a serious case of pneumonia while taking the drug.

Depending on the condition that’s being treated, Tecentriq may be used alone or with other medications. In clinical studies, using Tecentriq with other medications didn’t increase the risk of infection or the severity of infections that did occur.

If you have any symptoms of infection during Tecentriq treatment, talk with your doctor right away. They’ll check to see if you have an infection, and they’ll recommend whether you need treatment. Keep in mind that taking medication for an infection as soon as possible will likely make the infection easier to treat.

Immune system reactions

Tecentriq works by stimulating your immune system to help fight off the cancer that’s in your body. But sometimes, your immune system may become too strong and begin attacking other areas of your body.

Because of this, you have an increased risk of developing certain conditions caused by your immune system while you’re taking Tecentriq. These conditions include:

  • lung problems, such as pneumonitis (inflammation in your lungs)
  • liver problems, such as hepatitis (inflammation in your liver)
  • intestinal problems, such as colitis (inflammation in your colon)
  • endocrine gland problems, which may involve changes in your:
    • adrenals (glands that make adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol)
    • pituitary (gland that makes hormones that affect your other endocrine glands, such as your adrenals and thyroid)

How common are immune system reactions?

In clinical trials, when Tecentriq was used alone to treat different types of cancer, the following percentages of people had immune reactions:

  • 2.5% of people had pneumonitis
  • 9% of people had hepatitis
  • 20% of people had colitis
  • 4.6% of people had decreased thyroid function (hypothyroidism), whereas 1.6% of people had increased thyroid function (hyperthyroid)
  • 0.4% of people had decreased adrenal gland function
  • less than 0.1% of people developed diabetes due to problems with pancreas function
  • less than 0.1% had decreased pituitary gland function

It’s not known how many people taking medications other than Tecentriq or a placebo had pneumonitis, hepatitis, colitis, or endocrine gland changes. (A placebo is a treatment with no active drug.)

Although they’re not very common, these conditions can occur while you’re taking Tecentriq. And in some cases, they may be serious.

How will I know if I have an immune system reaction?

During Tecentriq treatment, your doctor will order blood tests. The results of these tests will help your doctor to be sure that you aren’t developing an immune system reaction.

However, if you notice symptoms, such as yellowing of your skin or eyes, belly pain, trouble breathing, blood in your stool, or changes in your mood, talk with your doctor right away. These symptoms may indicate that you’re having an immune system reaction. If you do have one of these conditions, your doctor will recommend treatment that’s right for you.

The Tecentriq dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Tecentriq to treat
  • other medical conditions you may have
  • how you’ve reacted to any doses of Tecentriq you’ve received in the past

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Tecentriq comes as a solution that’s given by intravenous (IV) infusion. With an IV infusion, the drug is injected into your vein over a period of time.

You’ll receive your doses of Tecentriq from a healthcare provider. For your first dose, the drug will be infused over a period of 60 minutes. If you don’t have a reaction with the first infusion, your following infusions can be given over a period of 30 minutes.

Tecentriq solution is available in two strengths: 840 mg/14 mL and 1,200 mg/20 mL.

Dosage for triple-negative breast cancer

The recommended dosage of Tecentriq for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)* is 840 mg given once every 2 weeks.

In each 28-day treatment cycle, you’ll get doses of Tecentriq on days 1 and 15. In addition, you’ll get doses of a drug called paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane) on days 1, 8, and 15. This means that on days 1 and 15 of each treatment cycle, you’ll receive Tecentriq followed by Abraxane. (Like Tecentriq, Abraxane is also given by IV infusion.)

* TNBC is a form of breast cancer that doesn’t have receptors (attachment sites) for certain hormones and also lacks certain proteins.

Dosage for small cell lung cancer

The recommended dosage of Tecentriq for small cell lung cancer (SCLC)* is 1,200 mg given once every 3 weeks. For this condition, Tecentriq is given along with two chemotherapy drugs: carboplatin and etoposide. (Chemotherapy describes traditional drugs used to treat cancer.)

If you’re scheduled to receive doses of either carboplatin or etoposide on the same day as Tecentriq, you should get your dose of Tecentriq first. (Like Tecentriq, both carboplatin and etoposide are also given by IV infusion.)

After you’ve completed four 3-week cycles of carboplatin and etoposide treatment, your doctor may change your dosage of Tecentriq. At that time, your dosage may be one of the following:

  • 840 mg given once every 2 weeks
  • 1,200 mg given once every 3 weeks
  • 1,680 mg given once every 4 weeks

* SCLC is a form of lung cancer that affects certain cells in your lungs.

Dosage for non-small cell lung cancer

The recommended dosage of Tecentriq for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)* varies depending on whether it’s used alone or with other drugs. Below we describe typical dosages of Tecentriq both when used alone and with other drugs.

* NSCLC is a form of lung cancer that affects certain cells in your lungs.

Dosage of Tecentriq for NSCLC when it’s used alone

The recommended dosage of Tecentriq for NSCLC when it’s used alone may be one of the following:

  • 840 mg given once every 2 weeks
  • 1,200 mg given once every 3 weeks
  • 1,680 mg given once every 4 weeks

Dosage of Tecentriq for NSCLC when it’s used with other drugs

The recommended dosage of Tecentriq for NSCLC when Tecentriq is used with certain other drugs is 1,200 mg given once every 3 weeks.

In this case, Tecentriq is given with a cancer drug called bevacizumab (Avastin). And Tecentriq is also given with a chemotherapy drug that’s made with platinum called carboplatin. (Chemotherapy describes traditional drugs used to treat cancer.)

If you’re receiving Tecentriq on the same day as you’re receiving doses of carboplatin and Avastin, you should get your dose of Tecentriq first. (Like Tecentriq, both carboplatin and Avastin are also given by IV infusion.)

After you’ve finished four to six 3-week cycles of chemotherapy, it’s possible that your doctor may have you stop using both carboplatin and Avastin. If this happens, your doctor may also change your dosage of Tecentriq. At that time, your dosage of Tecentriq may be one of the following:

  • 840 mg given once every 2 weeks
  • 1,200 mg given once every 3 weeks
  • 1,680 mg given once every 4 weeks

Dosage for bladder cancer

The recommended dosage of Tecentriq for urothelial carcinoma, which is a specific type of bladder cancer, may be one of the following:

  • 840 mg given once every 2 weeks
  • 1,200 mg given once every 3 weeks
  • 1,680 mg given once every 4 weeks

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss an appointment for a Tecentriq infusion, call your doctor’s office right away. The medical staff will be able to schedule another appointment for you. And they’ll recommend when you should get your next dose of the drug.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try setting an appointment reminder on your phone.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Yes, you might. Tecentriq is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. The drug is usually taken until you have severe or bothersome side effects from it, or until your cancer gets worse.

If you and your doctor determine that Tecentriq is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Tecentriq, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed below are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for triple-negative breast cancer

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) include:

  • capecitabine (Xeloda)
  • gemcitabine (Infugem)
  • eribulin (Halaven)
  • cisplatin
  • carboplatin
  • olaparib (Lynparza)
  • talazoparib (Talzenna)
  • paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane)

Alternatives for small cell lung cancer

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat small cell lung cancer (SCLC) include:

  • etoposide
  • cisplatin
  • carboplatin
  • irinotecan (Camptosar)
  • pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
  • nivolumab (Opdivo)

Alternatives for non-small cell lung cancer

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) include:

  • cisplatin
  • carboplatin
  • paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane)
  • docetaxel (Taxotere)
  • etoposide
  • pemetrexed (Alimta)
  • gemcitabine (Infugem)
  • vinorelbine
  • pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
  • bevacizumab (Avastin)
  • ramucirumab (Cyramza)
  • osimertinib (Tagrisso)
  • necitumumab (Portrazza)
  • nivolumab (Opdivo)
  • durvalumab (Imfinzi)

Alternatives for bladder cancer

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat urothelial carcinoma, which is a specific type of bladder cancer, include:

  • cisplatin
  • fluorouracil, also called 5-FU
  • gemcitabine (Infugem)
  • durvalumab (Imfinzi)
  • avelumab (Bavencio)
  • pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
  • nivolumab (Opdivo)

You may wonder how Tecentriq compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Tecentriq and Keytruda are alike and different.

Ingredients

Tecentriq contains the active drug atezolizumab, while Keytruda contains the active drug pembrolizumab. Both of these medications are immunotherapy drugs. This means they work with your immune system to help fight off cancer.

Uses

Tecentriq is approved for certain uses in adults with the following types of cancer:

For information on how Tecentriq can be used for these types of cancer, see the section “Tecentriq uses” above.

Keytruda is approved to treat the same type of urothelial cancer as Tecentriq is. In addition, Keytruda is also approved to treat a high-risk type of bladder cancer that affects just the lining of the bladder and that hasn’t responded to certain other treatments.

Keytruda is also approved to treat certain types of lung cancer. Specifically, Keytruda is approved to treat:

  • SCLC that’s metastatic (has spread to other parts of your body). For this use, Keytruda is given to people who’ve already tried a chemotherapy drug that’s made with platinum plus one other treatment. But their cancer worsened with these treatments.
  • NSCLC. For this use, Keytruda is given to people who have one of the following:
    • Non-squamous* NSCLC that’s metastatic and doesn’t have EGFR or ALK gene mutations (abnormal changes). In this case, Keytruda is given with pemetrexed (Alimta) and a chemotherapy drug that’s made with platinum.
    • Squamous** NSCLC that’s metastatic. In this case, Keytruda is given with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane).
    • NSCLC that has PD-L1 proteins (immune system proteins that help your immune system recognize and fight cancer). But the NSCLC doesn’t have EGFR or ALK gene mutations. For this condition, Keytruda is only approved for this use if you have stage 3*** NSCLC, you’re unable to have surgery to remove the cancer, and you can’t take chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
    • NSCLC that’s metastatic and has PD-L1 proteins. For this use, Keytruda is given to people whose cancer got worse during or after treatment with chemotherapy that’s made with platinum. In this case, Keytruda would be used alone. (For this condition, if your cancer has EGFR or ALK gene mutations, you should have tried another drug that’s FDA-approved for your condition before trying Keytruda.)

* Non-squamous NSCLC doesn’t affect certain cells called squamous cells in your lungs.

** Squamous NSCLC does affect squamous cells in your lungs.

*** With stage 3 NSCLC, the lung cancer has spread to areas nearby, but it hasn’t spread throughout your body.

In addition to bladder cancer, NSCLC, and SCLC, Keytruda is also approved to treat certain types of:

However, unlike Tecentriq, Keytruda isn’t approved to treat TNBC.

Drug forms and administration

Tecentriq is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion by healthcare providers. With an IV infusion, the drug is injected into your vein over a period of time. Tecentriq infusions last about 30 to 60 minutes.

Keytruda is also given as an IV infusion by healthcare providers. These infusions last about 30 minutes.

Side effects and risks

Tecentriq and Keytruda both contain drugs that work with your immune system to treat certain types of cancer. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

Depending on whether you’re using Tecentriq with other drugs, your side effects may differ from those listed below.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Tecentriq, with Keytruda, or with both Tecentriq and Keytruda (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Tecentriq:
    • headache
  • Can occur with Keytruda:
    • muscle pain
    • rash
    • itchiness
    • fever
    • pain
    • belly pain
  • Can occur with both Tecentriq and Keytruda:
    • fatigue (lack of energy)
    • decreased appetite
    • nausea and vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • cough
    • trouble breathing
    • constipation
    • hair loss

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Tecentriq, with Keytruda, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Tecentriq:
  • Can occur with Keytruda:
    • kidney problems that are caused by your immune system, such as nephritis (inflammation in your kidney)
    • skin reactions that are caused by your immune system, such as serious rashes
  • Can occur with both Tecentriq and Keytruda:
    • lung problems that are caused by your immune system, such as pneumonitis (inflammation in your lungs)
    • intestinal problems that are caused by your immune system, such as colitis (inflammation in your colon)
    • liver problems that are caused by your immune system, such as hepatitis (inflammation in your liver)
    • severe infusion reactions (reactions that occur during or shortly after you’ve had a drug infused into your body)
    • eye problems, such as uveitis (inflammation in your eye)
    • heart problems, such as myocarditis (inflammation in your heart muscle)
    • severe allergic reaction

Effectiveness

Tecentriq and Keytruda have different approved uses. But they’re both approved to treat certain types of bladder cancer, SCLC, and NSCLC.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But separate studies have found both Tecentriq and Keytruda to be effective in treating certain types of bladder cancer, SCLC, and NSCLC.

In addition, an indirect comparison was done that looked at Tecentriq versus Keytruda in treating NSCLC. (An indirect comparison isn’t comparing certain drugs in the same study. Instead, it looks at many different studies and pools together the information to try to compare medications. Because of this, indirect comparisons are much less accurate than direct clinical studies are.)

In this comparison, more people taking Keytruda than those taking Tecentriq had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. However, this comparison didn’t test these two drugs under the same conditions. Because of this, several factors could have affected the results.

Costs

Tecentriq and Keytruda are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Tecentriq generally costs less than Keytruda. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the medical office where you receive either drug.

You may wonder how Tecentriq compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Tecentriq and Opdivo are alike and different.

Ingredients

Tecentriq contains the active drug atezolizumab, while Opdivo contains the active drug nivolumab. Both of these medications are immunotherapy drugs. This means they work with your immune system to help fight off cancer.

Uses

Tecentriq is approved for certain uses in adults with the following types of cancer:

For information on how Tecentriq can be used for these types of cancer, see the section “Tecentriq uses” above.

Opdivo is also approved to treat certain types of urothelial cancer, NSCLC, and SCLC. Specifically, Opdivo is approved to treat:

  • NSCLC that’s both metastatic (has spread to other parts of your body) and has worsened during or after treatment with chemotherapy that’s made with platinum. For this use, if your cancer has EGFR or ALK gene mutations (abnormal changes), you should try other medication that’s FDA-approved for your condition before using Opdivo.
  • SCLC that’s metastatic and has worsened after treatment with both chemotherapy that’s made with platinum and at least one other type of treatment.
  • Urothelial cancer that’s either metastatic or locally advanced (has spread to nearby areas). For this use, Opdivo is given to people whose cancer:
    • has worsened during or after treatment with chemotherapy that’s made with platinum
    • has worsened within 12 months of either neoadjuvant treatment* or adjuvant treatment** with chemotherapy that’s made with platinum

* With neoadjuvant treatment, you receive therapy before having surgery to treat your cancer.

** With adjuvant treatment, you receive therapy after your cancer has been treated to help prevent it from coming back.

In addition to the uses listed above, Opdivo is also approved to treat certain types of:

  • melanoma (a type of skin cancer)
  • renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer)
  • classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), which is a type of cancer that affects certain white blood cells
  • head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC)
  • hepatocellular cancer (liver cancer)
  • microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) cancer or mismatch repair deficit (dMMR) cancer, which both result from genetic conditions that increase your risk of certain types of cancer

Unlike Tecentriq, Opdivo isn’t approved to treat TNBC.

Drug forms and administration

Tecentriq is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion by healthcare providers. With an IV infusion, the drug is injected into your vein over a period of time. Tecentriq infusions last about 30 to 60 minutes.

Opdivo is also given as an IV infusion by healthcare providers. It’s given over a period of 30 minutes.

Side effects and risks

Tecentriq and Opdivo both contain drugs that can treat certain types of bladder and lung cancer. These drugs also both belong to the same class of drugs called immunotherapies. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

Depending on whether you’re using Tecentriq with other drugs, your side effects may differ from those listed below.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Tecentriq, with Opdivo, or with both Tecentriq and Opdivo (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Tecentriq:
    • hair loss
  • Can occur with Opdivo:
    • rash
    • back pain
    • joint pain
    • upper respiratory infection, such as a sinus infection
    • fever
    • belly pain
    • pain in your bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, or tendons
  • Can occur with both Tecentriq and Opdivo:
    • fatigue (lack of energy)
    • diarrhea
    • nausea and vomiting
    • cough
    • trouble breathing
    • decreased appetite
    • constipation
    • headache

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Tecentriq, with Opdivo, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Tecentriq:
  • Can occur with Opdivo:
    • kidney problems that are caused by your immune system, such as kidney failure
    • skin reactions that are caused by your immune system, such as serious rashes
    • encephalitis (inflammation in your brain) that’s caused by your immune system
  • Can occur with both Tecentriq and Opdivo:
    • lung problems that are caused by your immune system, such as pneumonitis (inflammation in your lungs)
    • liver problems that are caused by your immune system, such as hepatitis (inflammation in your liver)
    • intestinal problems that are caused by your immune system, such as colitis (inflammation in your colon)
    • severe infusion reactions (reactions that occur during or shortly after you’ve had a drug infused into your body)
    • eye problems, such as uveitis (inflammation in your eye)
    • heart problems, such as myocarditis (inflammation in your heart muscle)
    • severe allergic reaction

Effectiveness

Tecentriq and Opdivo have different approved uses. But they’re both used to treat certain types of bladder cancer, SCLC, and NSCLC.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But separate studies have found both Tecentriq and Opdivo to be effective in treating certain types of bladder cancer, SCLC, and NSCLC.

There was an indirect comparison done that looked at Tecentriq versus Opdivo in treating NSCLC. (An indirect comparison is not comparing certain drugs in the same study. Instead, it looks at many different studies and pools together the information to try to compare medications. Because of this, indirect comparisons are much less accurate than direct clinical studies are.)

In this comparison, more people taking Opdivo than people taking Tecentriq had their tumor either shrink in size or disappear completely. However, this comparison didn’t test these two drugs under the same conditions. Because of this, several factors could have affected the results.

Costs

Tecentriq and Opdivo are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Tecentriq and Opdivo generally cost about the same. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the medical office where you receive either drug.

Tecentriq is an immunotherapy drug, which means it works with your immune system to treat cancer.

Specifically, Tecentriq activates your immune system to recognize cancer cells so that it can fight them off. The drug works by blocking a protein called programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). This protein is made naturally by your body. It works by stopping your immune system from attacking too many other cells in your body.

However, if your cancer has high levels of PD-L1, your immune system won’t be able to attack the cancer cells. This allows the cancer to keep growing in your body.

Tecentriq works by blocking PD-L1 so that your immune system can recognize cancer cells. Then your immune system can help kill the cancer cells and stop the cancer from getting worse or spreading.

How long does it take to work?

Tecentriq will begin working after your first dose of the medication. You may not be able to notice that the drug is working in your body. But depending on the type of cancer have, you doctor may order tests to check to see when the drug begins to work.

Tecentriq is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. So unless you have severe or bothersome side effects from the drug, or your cancer worsens during treatment, you’ll likely take it long term.

There aren’t any known interactions between Tecentriq and alcohol. However, Tecentriq may increase your risk of liver problems, such as hepatitis (inflammation in your liver). Because alcohol may also increase your risk of liver problems, taking Tecentriq and drinking alcohol may further increase your risk.

It’s also possible that if you’re taking Tecentriq with certain other medications, alcohol may interact with those medications.

Be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about all of the medications that you’re taking during Tecentriq treatment. And ask them if there’s a safe amount of alcohol you can drink while you’re taking Tecentriq.

Tecentriq is not known to interact with any other medications, herbs, supplements, or foods.

However, it’s still important that you talk with your doctor about any other medications you’re taking before you begin using Tecentriq. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

As with all medications, the cost of Tecentriq can vary. To find current prices for Tecentriq in your area, check out WellRx.com.

The cost you find on WellRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Your insurance plan may require you to get prior authorization before approving coverage for Tecentriq. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the request and let you and your doctor know if your plan will cover Tecentriq.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Tecentriq, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Tecentriq, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Genentech, the manufacturer of Tecentriq, offers programs to help lower the cost of the drug. To learn more about these programs, visit the manufacturer’s website.

For example, if you have commercial insurance, you may find assistance through the Genentech BioOncology Co-pay Assistance Program. And the Genentech BioOncology Access Solutions may help with your copay cost. If you don’t have commercial insurance, the Genentech Patient Foundation may be able to help you access Tecentriq.

Generic version

Tecentriq isn’t available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

Tecentriq is given as intravenous (IV) infusion in the hospital or your doctor’s office. With an IV infusion, the medication injected through a needle into your vein.

Each Tecentriq infusion takes about 30 to 60 minutes. Your first infusion will be given over a 60-minute period. If you don’t have any side effects related that infusion, your following infusions may be given in as little as 30 minutes.

Your doctor will determine how many total doses of Tecentriq you’ll need. However, this medication is usually given until you have severe or bothersome side effects, or your cancer worsens.

When to take

Usually, you’ll get doses of Tecentriq every 2, 3, or 4 weeks. But your dosage schedule will depend on your individual treatment plan and the type of cancer that’s being treated.

For example, if you’re taking Tecentriq with certain other drugs to treat either non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)* or small cell lung cancer (SCLC),* you’ll get your Tecentriq dose every 3 weeks. But if you’re taking Tecentriq to treat triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC),** you’ll usually get a dose every 2 weeks.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try setting an appointment reminder on your phone.

* NSCLC and SCLC are forms of lung cancer that each affect different types of cells in your lungs.

** TNBC is a form of breast cancer that doesn’t have receptors (attachment sites) for certain hormones and also lacks certain proteins.

Tecentriq isn’t safe to take during pregnancy. There’s no information available about the drug being used in pregnant women. However, animal studies have been done during pregnancy with drugs similar to Tecentriq.

These studies have shown that drugs that block the immune protein PD-L1 (as Tecentriq does) may cause your body to reject a developing fetus. This means that if Tecentriq is used during pregnancy, a person’s immune system may attack and kill their fetus.

If you’re a woman who’s able to become pregnant, your doctor will give you a pregnancy test before you start taking Tecentriq. This allows your doctor to be sure that you aren’t pregnant before you start treatment.

It’s also recommended that you prevent pregnancy by using contraception while you’re taking Tecentriq. For more information about this, see the next section, “Tecentriq and birth control.”

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before starting Tecentriq. They will likely recommend a medication other than Tecentriq to treat your cancer.

Tecentriq isn’t safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about birth control options before starting Tecentriq.

For women using Tecentriq

If you’re a woman who’s able to become pregnant, you should use an effective form of birth control while you’re taking Tecentriq. This could include using condoms or birth control pills, patches, or injections. And you should continue using effective birth control for least 5 months after your last dose of Tecentriq.

For men using Tecentriq

The manufacturer of Tecentriq hasn’t stated whether men using this drug need to use birth control. If you’re a man who’s sexually active with a female who could become pregnant, talk with your doctor about whether you need to use birth control while taking Tecentriq.

It’s not known whether Tecentriq is safe to take while breastfeeding. And it’s also not known if the drug passes into the breast milk of lactating women.

However, because Tecentriq may cause serious side effects in a child who’s breastfed, it’s recommended that you don’t take this drug while breastfeeding. And you should continue to avoid breastfeeding for at least 5 months after your last dose of Tecentriq.

If you have questions about the safety of using Tecentriq while breastfeeding, talk with your doctor.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Tecentriq.

Is Tecentriq a chemotherapy drug?

No, Tecentriq isn’t a chemotherapy drug. Instead, Tecentriq is an immunotherapy drug.

Chemotherapy refers to traditional drugs used to treat cancer. Typically, chemotherapy works by attacking cells that are quickly multiplying (making more cells). Because cancer cells multiply quickly, they’re affected by chemotherapy. But some healthy cells in your body can also be affected by chemotherapy.

Unlike chemotherapy, Tecentriq works by increasing your immune system’s ability to recognize cancer cells in your body. Once your immune system recognizes the cancer cells, it can attack them and stop them from growing and spreading. Because Tecentriq only works on certain immune system cells, it affects fewer cells in your body than chemotherapy does.

When treating certain types of cancer, Tecentriq is sometimes used in combination with chemotherapy drugs.

If you have questions about whether you need to take chemotherapy along with Tecentriq, talk with your doctor.

How long will I need to take Tecentriq?

It depends. Given your unique situation, your doctor will recommend how long you should take Tecentriq. However, in most cases, you’ll continue taking the drug until either your cancer worsens or you have severe or bothersome side effects.

If you have questions about how long you’ll need to take Tecentriq, talk with your doctor.

Will Tecentriq cure my cancer?

No, Tecentriq won’t cure your cancer. In fact, there’s currently no known cure for cancer. However, the drug can help shrink the size of your tumor. And in some cases, it may even cause your tumor to disappear completely.

But even if your cancer does appear to go away completely (a status called remission), there may still be cancer cells in your body. This is why it’s important to see your doctor regularly, as they recommend, so that you can be monitored after treatment.

Although Tecentriq won’t cure your cancer, it may increase your progression-free survival. (This term describes the length of time that you live without your cancer getting worse.) The drug may also increase your overall survival. (This term describes the length of time you live after your condition was diagnosed or treatment was started.)

For information on Tecentriq’s effectiveness in treating cancer, see the section “Tecentriq uses” above.

Talk with your doctor about the benefits of using Tecentriq for your condition.

How long will my Tecentriq infusions last?

Tecentriq is given by healthcare providers as an intravenous (IV) infusion. With an IV infusion, the drug is injected into your vein over a period of time.

Your first Tecentriq infusion will take about 60 minutes to complete. This first dose is given over 60 minutes so that you can be monitored for any infusion-related reactions. Symptoms of infusion reaction may include:

  • fever
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling in your face or lips

If you don’t have any reaction symptoms with your first dose of Tecentriq, your following doses can typically be given over a 30-minute period.

Before taking Tecentriq, talk with your doctor about your health history. Tecentriq may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Immune system conditions. If you have an immune system condition, such as Crohn’s disease or lupus, it may worsen if you take Tecentriq. This is because Tecentriq works by activating your immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells. But because certain immune system conditions are already caused by an overactive immune system, taking Tecentriq may worsen your immune system condition. If you have any immune system problems, talk with your doctor before taking Tecentriq. They may recommend a medication other than Tecentriq to treat your cancer.
  • Organ transplant. If you’ve had an organ transplant, Tecentriq may not be right for you. This is because Tecentriq works by activating your immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells. However, the drug may also cause your body to recognize and attack your transplant. If you have a history of organ transplant, talk with your doctor before starting Tecentriq. They may recommend a medication other than Tecentriq to treat your cancer.
  • Lung or breathing conditions. If you have a history of any lung or breathing problems, your doctor may monitor you more closely than usual while you’re taking Tecentriq. Or they may recommend a medication other than Tecentriq to treat your cancer. This is because Tecentriq can cause certain lung and breathing problems, such as pneumonitis (inflammation in your lungs). If you already have lung problems or trouble breathing, Tecentriq may worsen these conditions. Talk with your doctor before starting Tecentriq if you have a history of any lung conditions or breathing problems. Your doctor may recommend a medication other than Tecentriq to treat your cancer. Or they may monitor you more carefully than usual during Tecentriq treatment.
  • Liver problems. If you have a history of liver problems, such as cirrhosis (scarring of your liver), your doctor may monitor you more closely than usual while you’re taking Tecentriq. Or they may recommend a medication other than Tecentriq to treat your cancer. Tecentriq can cause liver problems brought on by your immune system. These problems include hepatitis (inflammation in your liver). If you already have a liver condition, Tecentriq may worsen the condition. If you have a history of any liver problems, talk with your doctor before starting Tecentriq.
  • Current infection. If you have a current infection, you shouldn’t take Tecentriq. This is because taking Tecentriq may worsen the infection. Before you start taking Tecentriq, tell your doctor about any possible infections. Your doctor will be sure to treat the infection before you get your first dose of Tecentriq. This is important to do because Tecentriq affects your immune system. In fact, the drug increases your risk of certain types of infections, such as pneumonia and urinary tract infection (UTI). Be sure to tell your doctor about any infections you have before starting Tecentriq.
  • Nervous system conditions. If you have any problems with your nervous system, such as myasthenia gravis (MG),talk to your doctor before starting Tecentriq. If you have MG, which is a disease that causes severe muscle weakness and possibly trouble breathing, Tecentriq may not be safe for you. This is because Tecentriq may cause certain nervous system side effects, such as headache and numbness or tingling in your arms or legs. In addition, Tecentriq may also cause trouble breathing. If you already have a nervous system condition, taking Tecentriq may worsen your condition, which may be unsafe for you. Talk with your doctor about any nervous system conditions you have. Your doctor will be able to determine if Tecentriq is a safe medication for you to take. In some cases, they may recommend a drug other than Tecentriq for you.
  • Pregnancy. Tecentriq isn’t safe to take during pregnancy. Because of this, you should use contraception to prevent pregnancy while you’re taking Tecentriq. For more information, please see the “Tecentriq and pregnancy” and “Tecentriq and birth control” sections above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Tecentriq is safe to take while breastfeeding. However, because it may cause serious harm to a child who’s breastfed, it’s recommended that you don’t breastfeed during treatment with the drug. For more information, please see the “Tecentriq and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Tecentriq, see the “Tecentriq side effects” section above.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Tecentriq is used to treat certain types of urothelial, lung, and breast cancer. Specifically, Tecentriq can be used to treat:

  • Urothelial carcinoma that is either locally advanced or metastatic.* Tecentriq is indicated for first-line treatment in people who meet any of the following criteria:
    • those unable to take cisplatin-containing drugs and whose tumors express PD-L1 (covering at least 5% or more of the tumor)
    • those unable to take platinum-containing drugs and whose tumors may or may not express PD-L1
    • those with disease progression during or after using platinum-containing drugs or within 12 months of either neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Tecentriq is indicated for first-line treatment in people with any of the following:
    • metastatic, non-squamous NSCLC that is negative for EGFR or ALK mutations. In this case, Tecentriq is used in combination with either bevacizumab (Avastin), paclitaxel, and carboplatin, or paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane) and carboplatin.
    • metastatic NSCLC with disease progression during or after treatment with platinum-containing drugs. If the tumor is either EGFR-positive (EGFR+) or ALK-positive (ALK+), Tecentriq should only be used after treatment has been attempted, but the cancer worsened, with other approved medications for EGFR+ or ALK+ tumors. In this case, Tecentriq is used alone.
  • Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).* For this use, Tecentriq is indicated for use in people with:
    • either metastatic or surgically unresectable locally advanced TNBC that has PD-L1 tumor expression (covering at least 1% of the tumor or more). In this case, Tecentriq is used in combination with paclitaxel protein-bound (Abraxane).
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC). For this use, Tecentriq is indicated for use in people with:
    • extensive-stage SLCL, as first-line treatment. In this case, Tecentriq is used in combination with both carboplatin and etoposide.

* These indications were approved under accelerated approval guidelines and are still being studied to confirm efficacy.

Mechanism of action

Tecentriq is an immunotherapy drug that specifically works by blocking programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), which is a protein that helps conceal cancer cells from the immune system.

PD-L1 works on T cells, as well as PD-1 and B7.1 receptors, to decrease production of both T cells and cytokines. The protein also decreases the ability of T cells to destroy cancer cells.

Tecentriq works by binding to and blocking PD-L1 so that it cannot interact with PD-1 and B7.1 receptors. This allows the immune system to recognize tumor cells as cancer and decrease tumor growth.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

In studies, the clearance of Tecentriq was 0.20 L/day, with a volume of distribution of 6.9 L once the drug has reached steady state. The half-life of Tecentriq was 27 days. The drug reaches steady state after multiple doses, at approximately 6 to 9 weeks.

Contraindications

Tecentriq does not have any contraindications.

Storage

Tecentriq should be stored in the refrigerator, between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). It should be stored in its original carton to keep it protected from light. Tecentriq should never be frozen or shaken prior to administration.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.