The challenge: immunotherapy and colorectal cancer
Immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of various types of cancer, including colorectal cancer. However, since not every patient responds positively to this therapy, it is imperative to find predictive markers for effective treatment.
This issue is particularly relevant for metastatic colorectal cancer patients who have defective DNA repair systems, also known as mismatch repair.
The Study: Using Spatial Analysis of Proteins
In a landmark study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, researchers at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center examined the utility of spatial analysis in predicting the effectiveness of PD-1 blockade immunotherapy.
The study focused on the proximity of cells expressing the immune checkpoint proteins programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1).
The lead author of the study, Dr. Frank Sinicrope, found that if cells expressing PD-1 and PD-L1 were less than 10 microns apart in a tumor, immunotherapy could significantly improve patient survival.
This suggests a critical threshold for effective blockade of PD-1 and PD-L1 binding that checkpoint inhibitors can target.
Implications for Treatment
According to the study, 60% of patient tumors examined had a large number of cells in which PD-1 and PD-L1 were in close proximity.
This implies that a significant proportion of patients could benefit from PD-1 blockade immunotherapy. Conversely, the remaining 40% may require alternative or combination therapies.
This method of spatial analysis has the potential to be a powerful tool for clinicians in selecting patients most likely to benefit from immunotherapy, thereby minimizing unnecessary treatments and the associated costs and toxicities.
I’m looking forward to
The team is currently in the process of validating their results. If validated, this could fundamentally change the way physicians approach colorectal cancer treatment with immunotherapy.
“Although our results are promising, the study data are awaiting validation in an independent cohort and are not yet ready for use in clinical practice,” warned Dr. sinicrope.
However, as the first report of its kind for colorectal cancer, this study opens new avenues to optimize patient selection in immunotherapy treatments and offers a glimpse into the future of personalized cancer care.
If you care about cancer, please read Studies on a New Way to Treat Cancer Effectively. This low-dose combination of four drugs can block the spread of cancer.
For more information on cancer prevention, see recent studies on nutrients in fish that may be a cancer poison. The results show that this daily vitamin is vital for cancer prevention.
The study was published In Clinical Cancer Research.
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