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ESMO 2020 | The role of immunotherapy in gastrointestinal cancers: an update from ESMO

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Geoffrey Ku

Geoffrey Ku, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, outlines the most significant conclusions drawn at the 2020 European Society for Medical Oncology. Dr Ku states that progress has been made in targeting HER2 in third-line gastric cancer treatment, particularly with trastuzamab deruxtecan, which has yielded better results than cytotoxic chemotherapy. Not only was this therapy successfully applied to HER2+ tumors, but it also had some positive effects in tumors that were IHC2+/FISH- and IHC1+ (HER2- tumors). However, because HER2-based therapy converts up to 30% of HER2+ tumours into HER2- tumors and pre-treatment biopsies were not conducted in this study, Dr Ku believes the results may underestimate the efficacy of HER2 therapy. Dr Ku considers that the most relevant outcome of the meeting was concluding that immunotherapy, particularly with nivolumab or pembrolizumab, positively impacts stomach and oesophagus cancer treatment. Nivolumab is particularly efficient in cases of residual oesophageal cancer, as it can double the disease-free survival. This interview was recorded via an online conference call with The Video Journal of Oncology (VJOncology).

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