Successful trial for new treatment for colorectal cancer

  • Art
  • June 17, 2024

Results of a new study indicate that immunotherapy can be successfully used to treat the most common form of colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer.

The findings of the new study, a phase 1 trial of the immunotherapy drugs boatsilimab and balstilimab, were published in the journal Naturopathy, and it is the first time that consistent and durable responses to immunotherapy have been reported in difficult-to-treat patients.

Co-authored by Professor Justin Stebbing from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), who describes the results as “potentially groundbreaking”, the study focused on the most common type of colorectal tumors, known as MSS mCRC, or microsatellite stable metastatic colorectal cancer .

Although immunotherapy has previously been shown to work in patients with specific mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) tumors, only a small percentage of colorectal cancer patients have this type of tumor, and immunotherapy has thus far been ineffective in patients with more common MSS mCRC tumors.

The new study involved the use of the immunotherapy drug boatssilimab in combination with balstilimab in a group of patients in the United States. These drugs are both monoclonal antibodies, which work by activating the body's immune system to attack the cancer.

Of the patients in the Phase 1 study, 101 participated in a six-month follow-up and of these, 61% saw their tumors shrink or remain stable after receiving a combination of boatssilimab (BOT) and balstilimab (BAL). The most common side effects, or treatment-related side effects, were diarrhea and fatigue.

Justin Stebbing, professor of biomedical sciences at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge, England, and contributing author of the study, said: “These results are incredibly exciting. Colorectal or bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide and this is the first time there is compelling evidence that immunotherapy can work on all forms of colorectal tumors, so this may be a bummer.

“This is now moving into later-stage clinical trials and we hope that the US FDA will approve its use very soon. And because this is such an important area that affects so many people, we hope that the authorities in Great Britain Britain may also be able to take action quickly.”

Joint first author Dr. Andrea Bullock, assistant professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said: “This study sheds light on the potential of the BOT/BAL combination for the treatment of microsatellite stable metastatic colorectal cancer, the most common form of colorectal cancer. cancer that has historically not responded to immunotherapy, and we hope our results will provide new hope for those diagnosed.”

Joint last author Dr. Anthony El-Khoueiry, Associate Director of Clinical Research and Chief of the Division of Developmental Therapeutics at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, said: “This Phase 1 study of boatsilimab highlights the promising antitumor activity encompassing immunologically cold tumors. such as MSS colorectal cancer. The observed efficacy highlights the potential of boatsilimab through its broader anti-tumor immunity potential.”

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