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Dr. Dadu on Immunotherapy in Thyroid Cancer

Ramona Dadu, MD
Published: Friday, Jan 13, 2017



Ramona Dadu, MD, assistant professor, Department of Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the use of immunotherapy to treat patients with thyroid cancer.

Dadu begins by explaining the interaction between the immune system and the cancer cells which, she says, is quite complex. A comprehensive evaluation of these tumors is needed in order to properly classify them as immunogenic, or "hot" tumor environments.

Dadu defines a "hot" immunogenic environment as one that has a lot of tumor infiltration into lymphocytes within the tumor microenvironment, but the tumor cells themselves also express high levels of PD-L1, making the environment exhausted in a sense.

To date, she says, the field lacks a good predictive marker to inform oncologists about which patients will respond to immunotherapy and which will not. Dadu hopes that, by identifying these immune infiltrates and PD-L1 expression, researchers can move the treatment landscape forward. As of now, she explains, few patients with thyroid cancer have actually been treated with immunotherapy, meaning the available data are quite limited.


Ramona Dadu, MD, assistant professor, Department of Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the use of immunotherapy to treat patients with thyroid cancer.

Dadu begins by explaining the interaction between the immune system and the cancer cells which, she says, is quite complex. A comprehensive evaluation of these tumors is needed in order to properly classify them as immunogenic, or "hot" tumor environments.

Dadu defines a "hot" immunogenic environment as one that has a lot of tumor infiltration into lymphocytes within the tumor microenvironment, but the tumor cells themselves also express high levels of PD-L1, making the environment exhausted in a sense.

To date, she says, the field lacks a good predictive marker to inform oncologists about which patients will respond to immunotherapy and which will not. Dadu hopes that, by identifying these immune infiltrates and PD-L1 expression, researchers can move the treatment landscape forward. As of now, she explains, few patients with thyroid cancer have actually been treated with immunotherapy, meaning the available data are quite limited.



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