Experimental cancer drug testing shows “proof of principle” that can help treat other tumors

Filler when loading article attempts

After a study of small cancer drugs yielded unprecedented results in 100 percent of participants in remission, oncologists and patients wondered if the experimental drug test could be used for other types of cancer.

A study by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York found that immunotherapy, a type of treatment used to test oncologists, increased its effectiveness against tumors with certain abnormalities without surgery. All participants had tumors with an anomaly called malformation (MMR), a mutation found in 5 to 10 percent of colorectal cancers and endometrial, bladder, breast, and prostate tumors.

Although the test has been performed in patients with tumor mutations in about 4 percent of all cancers, the results show how to adapt specific tumor immunotherapy drugs that are more resistant to traditional mutations due to the mutation. Julie Grolow, chief medical officer and executive vice president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said the therapy.

“It’s a promise: it’s really a concept that is compatible with therapy for the tumor and the genomics that control it,” Gralow told The Washington Post on Thursday. “Because we can move it beyond this part of the rectum cancer.”

The Sloan Kettering trial, which began in late 2019, continued to take 18 patients with early-stage rectal cancer who had been diagnosed with a tumor mutation and gave them friendlimabab every three weeks for six months. In all 14 patients who completed treatment before the study was published, the tumor was completely gone (four more had similar results) and none required further treatment.

Results For the first time, immunotherapy not only eliminated the need for chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, it could cure patients, but it changed lives like infertility, gastrointestinal and sexual dysfunction, or chronic dependence on a colostomy sac.

The study’s authors note that the earliest patient completed more than two years of treatment and that all patients were monitored for at least five years to ensure that the tumor did not grow or recur.

Immunotherapy is the consumer’s guide to the hottest environment in the treatment of cancer

Scott Kopets, a professor of medical oncology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, called the study “significant progress in the field” and described the immunotherapy approach used to treat MMR-deficient tumors as “completely game-changing.”

“The idea of ​​using immunotherapy in patients with localized colorectal cancer is certainly gaining momentum,” he said. The new study provides recognition that “if we keep the immune system working properly … we can eradicate those cancers.”

Even advanced cancers have shown sensitivity to the drugs used in the tests. Instead of detecting and destroying cancer, drugs known as “checkpoint inhibitors” block a specific cancer cell protein that can cause the immune system to suppress the cancer response. After being eradicated for several years, the cancer rarely returns, Kopets said.

Other studies show that 70 percent of people with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with immunotherapeutic drugs will be cancer-free in five years, he said, a breakthrough in treating the deadly disease. Metastatic cancers are more difficult to treat than tumors of the rectum or colon.

A small cancer drug test can be eliminated in 100 percent of cancer patients

The study comes with caveats. Kopets and others warned that six months was not enough to know that patients would be cured of cancer permanently. These medications usually need to be taken for a year or two, and patients continue to believe that the cancer is gone, he said. However, unlike chemotherapy and radiation, medications are usually well tolerated at that time.

Perhaps more importantly, the genetic defect in the tumors of these patients, which allows these drugs to be effective, is less common in other types of cancer than in colon and endometrial cancer. Thus, if a person with lung or brain cancer does not have this defect, the chances of such a cure will be much lower, said Kopets.

David Ryan, director of clinical oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, told The Post earlier that the treatment used in the test may be widely available, but not everyone who receives treatment will have access to specialists who can help monitor patients. The test participants and intervene if the tumors reappear.

“If there are recurrences, we’re worried that we need to get people out as soon as possible to give them the best chance,” Ryan said.

Gralow, ASCO, confirms that the future of cancer treatment research is a narrow approach based on the type of cancer, such as an adapted plan that addresses the specific characteristics of the tumor.

“I am thrilled to see such a dramatic response,” he said of the outcome of the trial. “It gives me hope that we can find a similar dramatic match for other cancers.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.