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ASCO17: Day 3 Immunotherapy Highlights

June 05, 2017

Day 3 at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology touched on immunotherapy combinations and the promise of several novel immunotherapies, including anti-IDO1 checkpoint blockade and a personalized, patient-specific vaccine. Other measures of immunotherapy’s effectiveness, such as patient quality of life, were also discussed. Below are some of the most important findings that were revealed today:

Multiple Tumor Types:

Bladder Cancer:

  • In a phase III clinical trial, advanced bladder cancer patients treated with pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1 checkpoint immunotherapy) experienced significantly better health-related quality of life and increased overall survival compared to those treated with chemotherapy. (Lawrence Fong, M.D., was involved in this work.) http://abstracts.asco.org/199/AbstView_199_184717.html

Brain Cancer:

Breast Cancer:

  • In a phase II clinical trial, pre-surgery treatment with the combination of dual anti-HER2 antibody immunotherapies (pertuzumab and trastuzumab) along with chemotherapy led to a 78% pathologic complete response rate in patients with either early or late-stage HER2+/ER- breast cancer. http://abstracts.asco.org/199/AbstView_199_190422.html
  • In a phase I clinical trial, ZW25 (a bi-specific antibody immunotherapy that can target two different components of HER2) demonstrated effectiveness in patients with HER2+ breast cancer. http://abstracts.asco.org/199/AbstView_199_188617.html

Esophageal Cancer:

Head and Neck Cancer:

  • The combination of cetuximab (anti-EGFR antibody immunotherapy) and chemotherapy appeared to promote antitumor activity in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with poor performance status, and its effectiveness was often accompanied by a decrease in certain immunosuppressive microRNAs in the saliva of patients. http://abstracts.asco.org/199/AbstView_199_190690.html

Kidney Cancer:


  • Combining pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1 checkpoint immunotherapy) with anti-CD19 CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cell immunotherapy enhanced survival of the transplanted CAR T cells and led to clinical responses in pediatric patients with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). (Carl H. June, M.D., was involved in this work.) http://abstracts.asco.org/199/AbstView_199_187283.html
  • In a phase II clinical trial, CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cell immunotherapy was associated with significantly improved quality of life, in addition to an 82% complete response rate, in pediatric and young adult patients with relapsed/refractory acute lymphblastic leukemia. http://abstracts.asco.org/199/AbstView_199_187018.html

Lung Cancer:

  • In a phase II clinical trial, trastuzumab emtansine (anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate immunotherapy) led to several responses in patients with HER2-overexpressing advanced/metastatic non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). http://abstracts.asco.org/199/AbstView_199_186300.html
  • A relationship between EGFR pathway activation, increased CD73 expression, and decreased IFN-gamma expression was found in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma, and could possibly explain the lack of benefit associated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint immunotherapy in these patients. http://abstracts.asco.org/199/AbstView_199_194449.html

Melanoma / Skin Cancers:


Stomach & Gastrointestinal Cancer:

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.