#LCSM Chat topic 6/14/2018: Immunotherapy–the ultimate personalized therapy
Immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer care, particularly for lung cancer patients. On Thursday, June 14, 2018, at 8 PM Eastern time (5 PM Pacific), #LCSM Chat moderator Brendon Stiles (@BrendonStilesMD) will lead our discussion on “Immunotherapy–the ultimate personalized therapy.”
Over the last few years, several “checkpoint inhibitors” have been approved by the FDA for lung cancer patients. Because these drugs essentially unleash brakes on T cells which allow each patient’s own immune system to kill their cancer cells, these drugs could be considered the ultimate personalized therapy for cancer. In fact, these drugs are now a part of first line therapy for almost all stage IV lung cancer patients without targetable mutations and are rapidly moving into earlier stages as well.
Many of these drugs have less side effects than standard chemotherapy and are better tolerated by patients. Early trials have suggested a “plateau in the survival curves” generating hope that these drugs may actually cure some patients rather than just pushing back their inevitable deaths. Of course, with any new drugs, it is sometimes difficult to separate the hype from the hope. In general, only about 20-30% of patients respond to immunotherapy drugs. Although the amount of PD-L1 in tumors and “tumor mutation burden” have been shown to predict response to checkpoint inhibitors, it still remains difficult to accurately predict which patients will most benefit from immunotherapy.
In this chat, we will discuss the basics of immunotherapy, where immunotherapy fits into the current standards of treatment for lung cancer, and special concerns related to the use of these drugs.
With these thoughts in mind, this chat will cover the following topics:
- T1. How does immunotherapy work and what are the side effects?
- T2. Which patients should be considered for immunotherapy and are the drugs different?
- T3. Is there a role for immunotherapy in patients with activating mutations (EGFR, ALK, ROS1)?
- T4. Is there a role for immunotherapy in patients with stage I-III lung cancer?
- T5. What do patients want to know about immunotherapy?
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