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Immunotherapy Continues Growth With Trials in mCRPC

Angelica Welch
Published: Monday, Dec 18, 2017

Julie Graff, MD

Julie Graff, MD
Although modern immunotherapy has yet to have a breakthrough in prostate cancer to the degree it has had in lung cancer or urothelial carcinoma, combinations with anti–PD-1/PD-L1 agents are beginning to show promise for these patients in clinical trials.

, Julie Graff, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, commented on the state of immunotherapy in mCRPC and some of this ongoing research.

OncLive: Can you discuss your lecture on immunotherapy in prostate cancer?

Graff: I spoke about the status of immunotherapy in prostate cancer, which is a very interesting topic that is evolving. We have 1 approved immunotherapeutic agent called sipuleucel-T in mCRPC, which is a cellular vaccine. There are several other vaccines in development. We also have studies involving checkpoint inhibition, as well as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy in prostate cancer.

What is the status of immunotherapy currently, and what do you foresee in the next 5 to 10 years in this disease?

Sipuleucel-T is pretty well tolerated. Essentially, we take out the patient's blood and send the white blood cells to a factory where they are exposed to a prostate-specific antigen and growth factors and are put back into the patient, so there are not a lot of toxicities. Some patients have some itching, so we give Benadryl, or [they might have a] slight fever. The problem is prescribing [sipuleucel-T] when patients have prostate cancer–related symptoms because it does not really shrink down tumors. Anyone with rapidly growing tumors should not get this therapy because it will not work for them in time. 
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