On May 1, 2017, the anti-PD-L1 checkpoint immunotherapy durvalumab (IMFINZITM, AstraZeneca) was approved for bladder cancer patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease that progressed after treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.
The efficacy of durvalumab, which is also known as MEDI4736, was determined in a clinical trial involving 182 bladder cancer patients. The overall response rate was 17%, while responses occurred in 26.3% of the patients whose tumors expressed high levels of PD-L1.
This durvalumab announcement marks AstraZeneca’s first immunotherapy approval, and the third anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy approval for patients with advanced bladder cancer, along with atezolizumab and nivolumab.
Durvalumab is also being evaluated for other types of cancer in clinical trials, including several sponsored by the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), in collaboration with Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, as part of our Clinical Accelerator program. These efforts seek to help patients with triple-negative breast cancer, glioblastoma, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal cancer, sarcoma, head and neck cancer, melanoma, and prostate cancer.
Furthermore, several of the trials are testing durvalumab in combination with other immunotherapies, such as the anti-CTLA-4 checkpoint antibody tremelimumab, as well as the TLR (Toll-like receptor) agonists motolimod and PolyICLC.