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Exceptional Responder to Pembrolizumab Guides Immunotherapy Progress in Leiomyosarcoma

Danielle Bucco
Published: Monday, Apr 24, 2017

Suzanne George, MD

Suzanne George, MD

Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute identified a treatment-naïve patient with metastatic uterine leiomyosarcoma who had a complete tumor remission for more than 2 years on pembrolizumab (Keytruda).1,2

, lead study author Suzanne George, MD, assistant professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, clinical director, Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discussed the exceptional responder to pembrolizumab and the significance of these findings for further immunotherapy advances in leiomyosarcoma.

OncLive: Please describe your research.

George: The research that we recently published is a collaborative effort between the sarcoma and genomics team at Dana-Farber. We described a patient with an exceptional response to the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab. This is a patient who received pembrolizumab as first-line therapy for metastatic recurrent uterine leiomyosarcoma. This patient had a dramatic response to the therapy in multiple sites of disease with the exception of a single site.

We were ultimately able to resect that resistance site of disease. We gathered tissue samples from her baseline tumor, which had a dramatic response, and the resistant tumor to attempt to determine the factors for resistance. With differences between the tumors at those 2 time points that might help us understand why the tumor became resistant. 

Is it unusual to have a resistant tumor left over that you can study?

It was quite a unique opportunity to have tissue sample from both the baseline and a resistant tumor. It also gave us the opportunity to study this more fully because we had the samples over time. Some of the information that we've learned from this experience is just highlighting the importance of biopsies and tissue acquisition in patients on treatments over time.
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