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ASCO 2022 | Key areas of unmet need in gastroesophageal cancers

Nataliya Uboha, MD, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, talks on unmet needs in gastroesophageal cancers. Despite ongoing progress, recurrence rate with standard treatment in the early staged is approximately 50%, calling for improved standard therapies. Additionally, treatment in the early stages is associated with significant toxicity. Liquid biopsies such as circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) may aid in sparing patients from unnecessary toxicities. This interview took place at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2022 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL.

Transcript (edited for clarity)

Well, we are making progress, but there’s still a ton of places we need to improve on how we can treat our patients. In early stages, even with our standard treatments, the recurrence rates are about 50%, so we’re not curing significant percentage of patients. We certainly need to improve the outcomes of our standard therapies in these patients. And I mentioned Dr. Eads’ study, and some of the ongoing studies with gastric cancer with perioperative chemotherapy and immunotherapy that hopefully will help us achieve that...

Well, we are making progress, but there’s still a ton of places we need to improve on how we can treat our patients. In early stages, even with our standard treatments, the recurrence rates are about 50%, so we’re not curing significant percentage of patients. We certainly need to improve the outcomes of our standard therapies in these patients. And I mentioned Dr. Eads’ study, and some of the ongoing studies with gastric cancer with perioperative chemotherapy and immunotherapy that hopefully will help us achieve that.

Our treatments are also in early stage, are associated with significant toxicities. So, I’m hoping some of the liquid tumor markers like circulating tumor DNA could help us, potentially even spare some patients from the unnecessary surgeries in the future, but again, this is a big area of exploration. We’re making progress in metastatic disease, which is largely in curative disease, but we are identifying more and more biomarkers and we have better drugs. We have anticardiolipin antibodies. We have CAR T-cell therapies entering the space. We have anti-HER2 agents, so there’s a lot of improvements. There’s a lot of drugs, there’s a lot of progress and we just need to keep moving the field forward.

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