Dr. Michael Birrer on Immunotherapy Potential in Cervical Cancer

Michael Birrer, MD, PhD
Published: Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016


Michael Birrer, MD, PhD, director of Medical Gynecologic Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses recent advancements in cervical cancer.
 
The Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) 240 trial was an exciting breakthrough, says Birrer. It was the first randomized phase III trial that demonstrated a survival advantage in metastatic cervical cancer.
 
Cervical cancer is the poster child for immunotherapy, says Birrer. It is an HPV-driven tumor, similar to head and neck cancer, which has shown success with immunotherapy. The viral antigens are present in cervical cancer and there is a lot of potential for response or disease control, says Birrer.
 
A GOG small phase II immunotherapy has gone to completion, but responses may be low, says Birrer. However, immunotherapy trials are challenging. If immune RESIST criteria is not used the changes in tumor size can be misinterpreted as progression.
 
At Massachusetts General Hospital immunotherapy has been successful for some patients off-label, says Birrer. Some patients have had speculator responses, he adds.
 
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Michael Birrer, MD, PhD, director of Medical Gynecologic Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses recent advancements in cervical cancer.
 
The Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) 240 trial was an exciting breakthrough, says Birrer. It was the first randomized phase III trial that demonstrated a survival advantage in metastatic cervical cancer.
 
Cervical cancer is the poster child for immunotherapy, says Birrer. It is an HPV-driven tumor, similar to head and neck cancer, which has shown success with immunotherapy. The viral antigens are present in cervical cancer and there is a lot of potential for response or disease control, says Birrer.
 
A GOG small phase II immunotherapy has gone to completion, but responses may be low, says Birrer. However, immunotherapy trials are challenging. If immune RESIST criteria is not used the changes in tumor size can be misinterpreted as progression.
 
At Massachusetts General Hospital immunotherapy has been successful for some patients off-label, says Birrer. Some patients have had speculator responses, he adds.
 

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