June 18, 2024

Study: Immunotherapy offers significant benefits for dMMR colorectal cancer

Editor's Note

A pair of immunotherapy drugs administered before surgery significantly diminished tumor size without serious safety concerns in patients with mismatch repair-deficient (dMMR) colorectal cancer, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Healthline reported the news June 8.

Constituting 10-15% of cases, dMMR cancer is characterized by a high number of mutations in genes responsible for repairing mistakes that can occur during DNA replication, Healthline reports. The cancer tends to be resistant to chemotherapy.

To study the impact of immunotherapy, the Dutch researchers administered nivolumab and ipilimumab, both immune checkpoint inhibitors, to 115 atients with non-metastatic, locally advanced, previously untreated dMMR colon cancer. Of that total, 98% underwent timely surgery, defined as less than a two week delay. Additionally, 95% saw tumors shrink to less than 10 percent of its size, and two thirds had no evidence of a tumor after treatment. Two years after surgery, no patients experienced cancer recurrence.

Physicians quoted in the article describe the latest trial as evidence of how far immunotherapy has come in cancer research.

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