What is Tecentriq® (atezolizumab)?

Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) is a biologic immunotherapy drug used to treat some cases of advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. It is used in combination with the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel in people who have triple-negative breast cancer that:1

  • Has spread (metastatic) or cannot be removed by surgery (locally advanced) and
  • Tests positive for a protein called PD-L1

Triple-negative breast cancer refers to tumors that do not display a series of molecules that are common targets of chemotherapy. About 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers are triple-negative. This means breast cancer that is:2,3

  • Estrogen receptor-negative
  • Progesterone receptor-negative
  • Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative

Tecentriq was granted accelerated approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA may give accelerated approval to new drugs that treat a health condition with few or no other treatments. This means drugs like atezolizumab can be made available sooner.1

What are the ingredients in Tecentriq?

The active ingredient in Tecentriq is atezolizumab.4,5

How does atezolizumab work?

Trazimera is an engineered monoclonal antibody used to treat cancer. Our bodies naturally produce antibodies. These are immune factors that act against bacteria, viruses, and other foreign organisms that invade and threaten our health. Drug companies make a variety of antibodies that target the actions that cause certain diseases, including breast cancer.4

Atezolizumab is designed to bind to the PD-L1 protein that appears on the surface of some breast cancers. PD-L1 connects with receptors on T-cells to hide a tumor from our body's natural immune system. Atezolizumab sticks to PD-L1, which blocks its connection with the T-cells. This allows the body’s immune system to recognize and attack the tumor.4

Atezolizumab only works on tumors that have the PD-L1 protein. Your doctor will test your tumor for it before prescribing this drug.4

What are the possible side effects of atezolizumab?

The most common side effects of atezolizumab in combination with Abraxane (nab–paclitaxel) for triple-negative breast cancer include:4,5

  • Hair loss
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet (neuropathy)
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Low red blood cells (anemia)
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Low white blood cells
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite

Atezolizumab may also cause serious side effects, including:4,5

  • Lung problems, with symptoms like cough and chest pain
  • Liver problems, with symptoms like dark urine and severe nausea
  • Intestinal problems, with symptoms like diarrhea and severe abdomen pain
  • Hormone gland problems, with symptoms like changes in mood and eye problems
  • Kidney problems, with symptoms like blood in your urine and loss of appetite
  • Skin problems, with symptoms like rash and itching
  • Immune system problems, with symptoms like chest pain, irregular heartbeat, bruising, and severe muscle pain
  • Infusion reactions, with symptoms like chills, shortness of breath, and dizziness

If you have any signs of severe side effects, contact your doctor right away.

These are not all the possible side effects of atezolizumab. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with atezolizumab.

Things to know about atezolizumab

Before taking atezolizumab, tell your doctor if you have:4,5

  • Immune system problems such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus
  • An organ transplant
  • Received a stem cell transplant that uses donor stem cells
  • Had radiation treatment to your chest area
  • A condition that affects your nervous system, like myasthenia gravis or Guillain-Barré syndrome

Atezolizumab 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 atezolizumab. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with atezolizumab and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking atezolizumab.4,5

Before beginning treatment for breast 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 atezolizumab.

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Written by: Editorial Team | Last reviewed: March 2021