Dr. Arend on the Rationale of Novel Combinations in Gynecologic Cancer

February 10, 2018

Rebecca C. Arend, MD, assistant professor, UAB School of Medicine, UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the rationale behind novel combination strategies for patients with gynecologic cancer.

Rebecca C. Arend, MD, assistant professor, UAB School of Medicine, UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the rationale behind novel combination strategies for patients with gynecologic cancer.

Patients with gynecologic cancer who respond to single-agent immunotherapy have a high number of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). However, a patient also needs the right antibodies, such as CD137 or CD103. According to Arend, those T cells can become exhausted and will stop responding to immunotherapy.

In ovarian cancer, 15% of patients will have a response to single-agent immunotherapy. The ongoing question is can we prime the immune system to increase the live T cells that are able to fight off the cancer, and then add immunotherapy, Arend says. Immunotherapy is currently being investigated in combination with VEGF inhibitors, PARP inhibitors, chemotherapy, and other immunotherapy agents.


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