The success of immunotherapy in certain gastric cancers demonstrated
In Germany, around 15,000 people develop stomach cancer every year. Surgery is considered the main treatment for this type of cancer. Other options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted drugs. If the treatment is supplemented with immunotherapy, the patient’s lifespan can be significantly extended.
In a clinical study, researchers at the University Medical Center Halle have shown that the lifespan of patients with a certain form of gastric cancer can be significantly extended if the previous standard of treatment – the combination of antibodies and chemotherapy – is replaced by immunotherapy with the active substance supplemented with nivolumab. The study results were published in the journal JAMA Oncology.
The development of gastric carcinoma often goes undetected for a long time
According to a recent report from the Halle University Medical Center, 15,000 people are affected by stomach cancer each year. In many affected individuals, the development of gastric carcinoma remains undetected for a long time because the symptoms are often very unspecific in the early stages.
However, the later the cancer is diagnosed in the course of the disease, the more difficult it is to treat it successfully.
“In the case of gastric cancer at an advanced and metastatic stage, the current treatment is mainly palliative, aimed at reducing and controlling the symptoms”, explains Prof. Dr. Mascha Binder, director of the University Clinic and Polyclinic of Medicine Internal IV of the Hall of University Medicine.
Immunotherapy is not currently approved for everyone
Although immunotherapy is having an increasing impact on the treatment of gastric cancer patients, it is currently not approved for everyone.
Especially for patients with HER2-positive tumors, the current standard treatment consists of chemotherapy and targeted antibody therapy against HER2, the binding sites of certain growth factors on the surface of tumor cells.
After diagnosis, the average survival time for those affected is about 15 months.
Positive effects on disease progression
In the INTEGA study, researchers working with Professor Binder examined two experimental regimens for the immunotherapy of HER2-positive gastric cancer. The first regimen combined HER2 antibody therapy and strong immunotherapy with the drugs nivolumab and ipilimumab.
The second regimen expanded the current standard of treatment to include immunotherapy with nivolumab.
While the first regimen showed results comparable to the previous standard of treatment, patients in the second group lived an average of 22 months – 7 months longer than with treatment without the use of immunotherapy.
“Thanks to our study, we were able to prove that in patients with HER2-positive gastric cancer, immunotherapy in addition to the previous therapeutic standard has a positive effect on the course of the disease and can prolong survival. of our patients,” says Liant. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Universitätsmedizin Halle: INTEGA study from Universitätsmedizin Halle demonstrates success of cancer immunotherapy in advanced gastric carcinoma, (accessed: June 27, 2022), Universitätsmedizin HalleAlexander Stein, Lisa Paschold, Joseph Tintelnot, et al: Efficacy of Ipilimumab vs. FOLFOX in Combination With Nivolumab and Trastuzumab in Patients With Previously Untreated ERBB2-positive Esophagogastric Adenocarcinoma; in: JAMA Oncology, (published: 06/23/2022), JAMA Oncology
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