Prospects and progress of atezolizumab in non-small cell lung cancer

Johan Vansteenkiste, Els Wauters, Keunchil Park, Achim Rittmeyer, Alan Sandler, Alexander Spira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction: Immunotherapy has recently come to the forefront of oncology treatment as a potential means of combating cancer by restoring the body’s adaptive cancer-immunity cycle. Atezolizumab is a monoclonal antibody agent that specifically targets programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), a key molecule in the cancer-immunity pathway, to block binding to its receptors PD-1 and B7.1. Areas covered: This review covers the role of atezolizumab in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Several studies have reported promising efficacy in this indication. The phase II FIR and BIRCH studies evaluated atezolizumab monotherapy across different lines of therapy in NSCLC selected by PD-L1 expression status. The randomized POPLAR and OAK trials of atezolizumab versus docetaxel in previously treated NSCLC reported improved efficacy in the atezolizumab arm. Several ongoing studies yet to report data are also described and treatment-related adverse events are discussed. Expert opinion: Clinical trials have shown that atezolizumab has a favorable risk-benefit ratio compared with standard chemotherapy in second-line treatment of non-oncogene-driven advanced NSCLC. Promising response rates and survival over 2 years has been reported in the first-line setting; however, more research is needed in this setting and in evaluating combinatorial strategies to treat NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-789
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 3 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Atezolizumab
  • PD-L1
  • checkpoint inhibitors
  • immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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