Dr. Birrer on the Need for Novel Treatment Options in Cervical Cancer

Michael Birrer, MD, PhD
Published Online: Monday, Dec 12, 2016



Michael Birrer, MD, PhD, director of Medical Gynecologic Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses some of the novel treatment options that could be explored in the future treatment of patients with cervical cancer.

Birrer says future research in this field could explore combinations, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors plus antiangiogenic agents, as those are active in the cervix.

Some investigators have also considered looking into moving the immune checkpoint inhibitors upfront in pre-invasive disease. Birrer cites a hypothetical example of a patient who may have CIN 3, or carcinoma in situ, and if she is given 1 or 2 cycles of an immune checkpoint inhibitor, she could potentially avoid conization or hysterectomy. However, he says, this could be challenging because this patient population is still technically considered to be curable, so one must be careful in investigating such novel approaches.


Michael Birrer, MD, PhD, director of Medical Gynecologic Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses some of the novel treatment options that could be explored in the future treatment of patients with cervical cancer.

Birrer says future research in this field could explore combinations, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors plus antiangiogenic agents, as those are active in the cervix.

Some investigators have also considered looking into moving the immune checkpoint inhibitors upfront in pre-invasive disease. Birrer cites a hypothetical example of a patient who may have CIN 3, or carcinoma in situ, and if she is given 1 or 2 cycles of an immune checkpoint inhibitor, she could potentially avoid conization or hysterectomy. However, he says, this could be challenging because this patient population is still technically considered to be curable, so one must be careful in investigating such novel approaches.

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