On March 11, 2019, Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced the the US Food and Drug Administration had approved the VENTANA PD-L1 (SP142) Assay as the first companion diagnostic to aid in identifying triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients eligible for treatment with the Roche cancer immunotherapy Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) plus chemotherapy (Abraxane® [paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension (albumin-bound); nab-paclitaxel]). Assessment of PD-L1 biomarker status on tumor-infiltrating immune cells with the assay is essential for identifying those patients most likely to benefit from the treatment. A diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer means that the three most common proteins associated with breast cancer growth (estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2/neu) are not expressed on the tumor. "Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive disease that, until now, has had limited treatment options," said Michael Heuer, CEO of Roche Diagnostics. "This assay plays a pivotal role in helping physicians identify patients who can benefit from Tecentriq therapy, providing better patient care. At Roche, we build on our capacity to research both targeted medicines and companion diagnostics under one roof, so we can provide the right treatment to the right patient at the right time." Each year about 300,000 women are diagnosed globally with triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive disease with limited treatment options that represents 15 percent of all breast cancer cases. The VENTANA PD-L1 (SP142) Assay was developed to enhance visual contrast of tumor-infiltrating immune cell staining. In triple-negative breast cancer, PD-L1 is primarily expressed on tumor-infiltrating immune cells rather than on tumor cells themselves.
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