• The CADTH recommendations are a step towards public funding of this treatment option for some patients with early-stage NSCLC and ES-SCLC.

  • An estimated 29,600 Canadians were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2021, representing approximately 13% of all new cancer cases, and an estimated 21,000 Canadians died from lung cancer.[1]

  • Provincial jurisdictions will make the final decision on public reimbursement.

MISSISSAUGA, ON – October 5, 2022 – Hoffmann-La Roche Limited (Roche Canada) today announced that the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review Expert Review Committee (pERC) has issued two final recommendations for TECENTRIQ® (atezolizumab). 

The first recommendation was that “Tecentriq be reimbursed by public drug plans after surgery and chemotherapy for the treatment of patients with stage II to stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumour is positive for programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) in at least 50% of tumour cells and does not have an abnormal EGFR [epidermal growth factor receptor] or ALK [anaplastic lymphoma kinase] gene”.[2] The second recommendation was that, “Tecentriq, in combination with a platinum-based chemotherapy and etoposide, should be reimbursed by public drug plans for the [first-line] treatment of [adult patients with] extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC)”.[1]

The recommendations state that TECENTRIQ® should be reimbursed for the adjuvant treatment of early-stage NSCLC and ES-SCLC patients if certain conditions are met.[1,2]  The two recommendations were made because CADTH acknowledged the benefit of TECENTRIQ® in these lung cancer indications, and are a step towards public funding of TECENTRIQ® for these two diseases.

“At the Lung Health Foundation, one of our key priorities is an increase in lung cancer survivorship, and we recognize that key to this is the advancement of innovative and publicly funded treatment options for patients diagnosed with lung cancer,” says Peter Glazier, Executive Vice President, Lung Health Foundation. “Knowing how aggressive NSCLC and ES-SCLC cancers can be, it’s critically important that patients have access to treatments such as TECENTRIQ.”

NSCLC and SCLC are both subtypes of lung cancer. NSCLC accounts for approximately 88% of lung cancer cases in Canada, where approximately half of NSCLC cases are stage I-III at diagnosis.2 SCLC is 1 of 2 types of lung cancer; it is less common than non–small cell lung cancer, accounting for approximately 15% of patients with lung cancer. Most people with SCLC are diagnosed with extensive-stage cancer that has spread widely within the lungs, lymph nodes, and other parts of the body.[1]

“We need treatment options to manage this aggressive cancer,” said Dr. Parneet Cheema, Medical Director of Cancer Care at William Osler Health System and Assistant Professor at University of Toronto. “The positive recommendations for Tecentriq to treat early stage NSCLC and advanced stage SCLC, are a major step forward towards public funding of this option for these patients.”

“At Lung Cancer Canada, we see how lung cancer impacts thousands of patients, caregivers, and families everyday,” says Shem Singh, Executive Director, Lung Cancer Canada. “Patients with early-stage NSCLC need treatment options that both work and allow them to spend quality time with their families. We welcome the approval of TECENTRIQ®as this is an important step towards improving the lives of thousands of Canadians living with lung cancer.”

“With the aggressive and rapidly progressing nature of ES-SCLC, available treatment options for this patient population are extremely limited,” says Shem Singh, Executive Director, Lung Cancer Canada. “TECENTRIQ is one of the first treatments approved for this setting in decades, marking an important step forward for Canadians living with lung cancer. For this population of patients, every moment counts."

Roche Canada is pleased that the net clinical benefit of TECENTRIQ®has been recognized by CADTH for both indications and is looking forward to partnering with the provinces and jurisdictions to help make medicines like TECENTRIQ more accessible to Canadians living with lung cancer.

TECENTRIQ® was authorized by Health Canada on January 14, 2022 as monotherapy for adjuvant treatment following complete resection and no progression after platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy for adult patients with Stage II to IIIA (according to the AJCC 7th edition) NSCLC whose tumours have PD-L1 expression on ≥ 50% of tumour cells.[3]

TECENTRIQ® has also been authorized by Health Canada for the first-line treatment of adult patients with ES-SCLC, in combination with carboplatin and etoposide[3], since August 08, 2019. 

TECENTRIQ® is an Fc-engineered humanized immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) monoclonal antibody that directly binds to PD-L1 and blocks interactions with the PD-1 and B7.1 receptors. Blocking these interactions release PD-L1/PD-1 pathway-mediated inhibition of the immune response, including reactivating the anti-tumour immune response.[3]

About Early Stage Non-Small Lung Cell Cancer (NSCLC) and Extensive Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer (ES-SCLC)[1,2]

Lung cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada, with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounting for approximately 88% of lung cancer cases. Approximately half of NSCLC cases in Canada are stage I-III at diagnosis, and one-third of NSCLC patients have operable disease. Early-stage NSCLC (i.e., Stages I-IIIA per the AJCC 7th edition) is often asymptomatic. When patients do present with symptoms, these are usually non-specific and difficult to directly attribute to lung cancer. The most common symptoms include fatigue, cough, chest or shoulder pain, hemoptysis, weight loss, dyspnea, hoarseness, bone pain and fever.

Extensive stage (ES) disease is defined as disease that cannot be classified as limited. Approximately two-thirds of patients with SCLC have ES disease at diagnosis, which is associated with particularly poor prognosis.

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people's lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, as well as growing capabilities in the area of data-driven medical insights, help Roche deliver truly personalized healthcare. Roche aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with stakeholders across the entire healthcare sector to provide the best care for each person.

Roche is the world's largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. In recent years, Roche has invested in genomic profiling and real-world data partnerships, has become an industry-leading partner for medical insights, and has collaborated in artificial intelligence (AI) data-mining to fuel healthcare insights.

Roche Canada was founded in 1931, and employs more than 1,800 people across the country through its Pharmaceuticals division in Mississauga, Ontario as well as its Diagnostics and Diabetes Care divisions in Laval, Quebec. 

Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. Globally, Roche has been recognized as one of the most sustainable companies in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for twelve consecutive years. Roche Canada is also actively involved in local communities through its charitable giving and partnerships with organizations and healthcare institutions that work together to improve the quality of life of Canadians. 

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Amy Haddlesey
Roche Canada


  1. pERC final recommendation, Atezolizumab (Tecentriq) - SCLC, September 20, 2022. Available at: https://www.cadth.ca/sites/default/files/DRR/2022/PC0277%20Tecentriq%20SCLC%20-%20Final%20CADTH%20Recommendation%20(With%20Redactions)%20Final.pdf.

    Last accessed September 23, 2022.

  2. pERC final recommendation, Atezolizumab (Tecentriq) - NSCLC, September 20, 2022. Available at: https://www.cadth.ca/sites/default/files/DRR/2022/PC0269%20Tecentriq%20for%20NSCLC%20-%20CADTH%20Final%20Recommendation-Final-meta.pdf.

    Last accessed September 23, 2022.

  3. Tecentriq Product Monograph, July 21, 2022.

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