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Joleen M. Hubbard, MD, discusses the potential for treatment with immunotherapy alone in patients with colorectal cancer.
Joleen M. Hubbard, MD, an associate professor of oncology, as well as a consultant, practice chair, and vice chair of the Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Oncology at Mayo Clinic, discusses the potential for treatment with immunotherapy alone in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC).
Results from the phase 3 KEYNOTE-177 trial (NCT02563002), which examined pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as a first-line therapy vs standard chemotherapy in patients with microsatellite instability–high or mismatch repair deficient advanced CRC, led to the June 2020 FDA approval of the agent in this patient population. Results from the study demonstrate that a single-agent immunotherapy agent yields positive results within this patient population, according to Hubbard. However, more data from this study could provide further insight into whether chemotherapy should be added to the regimen, Hubbard notes.
Patients can have a good quality of life on immunotherapy, with robust and prolonged durations of response to treatment, Hubbard explains. As such, if the correct therapeutic targets are being hit, cytotoxic therapy could possibly be avoided for a period of time, Hubbard concludes.