Medicine

Lung cancer survival improves with immunotherapy, according to studies

Lung cancer survival improves with immunotherapy, according to studies

But that is advance in this cancer.

The NCC said in its recent report that lung cancer leads the cancer incidence table for male patients and ranks second among females, but the mortality of lung cancer is highest for both sexes, Global Times reports.

That's a big difference for such an advanced cancer, said Dr. Alice Shaw, a Massachusetts General Hospital lung cancer expert and one of the conference leaders.

The study, a phase III clinical trial testing treatment effectiveness and side effects, included 616 patients at 118 medical facilities around the globe.

A total of 781,000 patients are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, giving it the highest incidence rate among China's malignant tumours, according to the National Cancer Center (NCC). 'This is really a pivotal study. a new standard of care, ' said Shaw, who has no ties to the drugmakers. In the United States, it is expected to kill more than 154,000 people in 2018.

Immune therapy combined with chemo helped extend lung cancer patients' lives in clinical studies.

. The chemotherapy was a drug called pemetrexed, plus either carboplatin or cisplatin.

But the benefits for Opdivo and Yervoy lasted less than two months on average. It is already approved as a first-line treatment for this disease, so it should be covered by health insurers.

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"We were able to achieve this study's promising results in a relatively rapid time-frame because of the collaboration made possible by our Stand Up To Cancer-Cancer Research Cancer Institute Immunology Dream Team grant", said senior author of the study Drew Pardoll, MD, PhD, director of Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and director of Cancer Immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Historically, chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy, is given to lung cancer patients to shrink a large, non-metastasized tumor, and in the past, immunotherapeutic agents have been administered after surgery with limited results. "I only treat lung cancer and I've been doing that for about 20 years".

After a median follow-up of 12 months, three-quarters of the patients who underwent surgical resection were alive and recurrence-free.

Keytruda, Yervoy and Opdivo are called checkpoint inhibitors. The data are not conclusive, but Herbst said, "In lung cancer, my suspicion is these drugs are the same, like Coke vs. Pepsi". While that's a notable difference, the drug did not stop cancer entirely in most patients. "A matter of months, not years", she said.

Herbst offered several theories about why chemotherapy and immunotherapy could work well together. By killing some tumor cells, chemotherapy could pop open the bags, release the contents and help immune cells - unleashed by the checkpoint drugs - to identify their prey. They remove a cloak that some cancer cells have that hides them from the immune system.

In the study of 616 patients, pembrolizumab (Merck's Keytruda) combined with standard chemotherapy halved the risk of death or having the cancer compared to chemo alone after almost one year. Median survival is met when 50% of the patients die.

Gandhi wondered, Would using immunotherapy earlier in treatment, alongside chemotherapy, do more for patients? "We're making progress, but still only benefiting 30 to 40 percent of patients. We have to keep looking for new things and new approaches".


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