Dr. Schwartz on Future Research Efforts in Sarcoma

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Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center</b>

Gary K. Schwartz, MD, discusses future research efforts in the field of sarcoma.

Gary K. Schwartz, MD, a professor of medicine, chief of the Division of Hematology​/Oncology, and deputy director of Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center, discusses future research efforts in the field of sarcoma.

The phase 2 Alliance A091401 trial has validated and verified what was learned from the original study published in the Lancet Oncology: there are subsets of sarcoma that are sensitive to immunotherapy, says Schwartz. Combination therapy may provide a slight advantage for some patients, but this needs to be validated in larger studies, according to Schwartz. The data available from small, randomized studies are comprised of about 24 patients; they are not powered to look at progression-free survival and overall survival differences, Schwartz adds. However, trends suggest that there could be some benefit with a combination therapy versus a single-agent.

Efforts are needed to identify novel drugs and the patients who may benefit the most from these approaches, Schwartz adds. More work needs to be done to identify new targets, as well. Attempts are also being made to combine immunotherapy with chemotherapy; however, it is unclear if that approach will have a large impact. In other tumor types, such as lung cancer, chemoimmunotherapy combinations are being used and are now leading the way in drug development. 

New targets are under exploration in sarcoma. Some of these targets include T cells, as well as CD40 and STING. The field will be hearing more about these targets and the potential role they play with regard to immunotherapy, concludes Schwartz.