John Hays, MD, PhD, discusses the progression of immunotherapy in treating patients with ovarian cancer.
John Hays, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, and member of the Translational Therapeutics Program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—James, discusses the progression of immunotherapy in treating patients with ovarian cancer.
As PD-1, PD-L1, and CTLA-4 inhibitors were coming into the mainstream in many cancers a few years ago, there was an interest in investigating these agents in ovarian cancer, explains Hays. As single agents, the response rates ranged from 10% to 15%, which Hays says is “not bad,” but not as successful as he had hoped.
To try and increase response rates, researchers began investigating identifying patient populations that respond best to these drugs and figuring out what drugs can be added to these immunotherapies to make them work better, according to Hays. When chemotherapy is added to immunotherapy, there are better response rates in some cases, but not others. In addition to adding immunotherapy to chemotherapy in the upfront setting, immunotherapy is being explored in combination with chemotherapy or targeted therapy in the maintenance setting, in an effort to increase response rates and the number of patients who do not have disease recurrence, concludes Hays.