June 13, 2022
‘Unprecedented’ 100% of First 14 Untreated Patients With Rectal Cancer Respond to PD-1 Blocker Dostarlimab-gxly BookmarkGeorge Lundberg, MD
In a remarkable new study, covered in this article from The ASCO Post, 100% of 14 previously untreated patients with mismatch repair-deficient rectal cancer had complete responses—that is, no more signs of their cancer—after treatment with the checkpoint-inhibitor drug dostarlimab (brand name Jemperli) in a phase 2 clinical trial.
August 5, 2018
Steroids Lower Survival Benefits Associated with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Lung Cancer BookmarkEmma Shtivelman, PhD
Excerpt from Healio:
“The use of steroids at baseline was associated with inferior survival outcomes in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who were starting either PD-1 or PD-L1 blockade therapy, according to retrospective data presented at ASCO Annual Meeting.
” ‘Treatment with PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors is now standard therapy for nearly all patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer,’ Kathryn C. Arbour, MD, a fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said during her presentation. ‘The potential impact of steroids in patients with PD-1 or PD-L1 blockade has been an open question. Steroids are frequently used as a supportive medication in cancer care and can provide rapid relief of numerous cancer-related symptoms, including dyspnea, anorexia, pain, fatigue and symptoms associated with brain metastases. However … [physicians] routinely recognize that there can be substantial toxicities associated with long-term steroid use.’ ”
Go to full article published by Healio on July 10, 2018.
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October 4, 2017
New Trends in Pre-Surgery Treatments for Breast CancerEmma Shtivelman, PhD
Non-metastatic breast cancers are most often treated with surgery, but if the tumors are fairly large, or involve nearby lymph nodes, neoadjuvant (pre-operative) treatments with chemotherapy (NAC) are done first. NAC often reduces the tumor size and kills cancer cells in lymph nodes, if present, prior to surgery, improving the outcome. The best possible result of neoadjuvant treatment is pCR (pathologic compete response), when… Read more »
November 10, 2016
War of the Checkpoint Inhibitors: Anti-PD-1 Drugs Move into First-Line Treatment in NSCLCEmma Shtivelman, PhD
Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors, a type of immunotherapy, for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients whose cancer has progressed after first-line treatment with chemotherapy. Now, the manufacturers of both drugs, pembrolizumab (made by Merck) and nivolumab (made by Bristol-Myers Squibb; BMS) are intent on expanding the indications for use of their… Read more »
August 15, 2016
Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 2 of 2)Emma Shtivelman, PhD
As always, the more new treatments become available in melanoma, the more new challenges arise. With eight new drugs approved for melanoma in the last five years, oncologists may sometimes face the difficult choice of what drugs to choose for a patient’s first-line treatment. Immune checkpoint drugs sometimes cause serious side effects, but progress is being made on how to treat these and also how to treat patients with pre-existing autoimmune conditions. New approaches are needed in efforts to prevent recurrence of melanomas diagnosed at earlier stages of disease progression.
August 8, 2016
Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 1 of 2)Emma Shtivelman, PhD
New targeted and immunotherapy drugs have changed the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma from a death sentence into a disease that can potentially be managed and even cured. Nevertheless, these new drugs do not work in all patients, or they may stop working after a transient response. This post (part one of two) will describe ongoing efforts to find drug combinations with higher efficacy than single drugs and decipher the mechanisms underlying drug resistance.
February 8, 2016
Putting Immune Checkpoint Blockade to the Test in Breast CancerEmma Shtivelman, PhD
About 10 months ago, we asked: is there a future for immunotherapy in breast cancer? Now, we can answer this question with a qualified “yes.” The data show why.
December 23, 2015
The Growing Arsenal of Immunotherapy Drugs for MelanomaEmma Shtivelman, PhD
Large numbers of immune cells (T cells in particular) are frequently found within or adjacent to melanoma tumors, indicating that the tumors attract the attention—if not the action—of the immune system. True to its reputation as one of the most ‘immunogenic’ cancers, melanoma now has more U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved immunotherapy (immune system-targeting) drugs than any other cancer type.
December 10, 2015
New Promising Drugs for Small Cell Lung CancerEmma Shtivelman, PhD
Any type of advanced lung cancer is bad news, but a diagnosis of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a particularly grim one to receive. About 30 years have passed since any new treatments for SCLC were developed, and patients’ responses to standard chemotherapy with etoposide and cisplatin are short-lived. Hopefully, this will change soon.
September 9, 2015
To PD-L1 or Not to PD-L1: That Is the QuestionEmma Shtivelman, PhD
These days, it seems that I write mostly about immune checkpoint blockade drugs, or some other new immunotherapy treatment for cancer. This post is no different—it covers PD-L1, a protein that is at the center of clinical decisions for selecting patients who are likely to benefit from treatment with an anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 drug.