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Immunotherapy/RT Combos Could Be Next Wave of Novel Treatment in Lung Cancers

Gina Columbus @ginacolumbusonc
Published: Friday, Dec 22, 2017

Sagus Sampath, MD

Sagus Sampath, MD
In an effort to boost the clinical outcomes of single-agent activity, researchers are interested in investigating the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors in combination with radiation therapy (RT) in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

on Advanced Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer, Sampath, an associate clinical professor of radiation oncology, City of Hope, discussed the ongoing studies exploring checkpoint inhibitions with RT and the promise of integrating these 2 treatments in the field of NSCLC.  

OncLive®: What combinations are being studied with these two modalities?

Sampath: Basically, there are 2 main classes of immunotherapies. Now, people are focused on the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway so the drug therapies that are out there are mainly using mainly those 2 ligand and receptors. Targeting that with radiation is essentially where we are headed. It has been tested in a few clinical trials [across] a few patient populations. I spoke about that and the exciting possibilities of combining the two treatments, perhaps in stage IV patients. 

Why might be there synergy with checkpoint inhibitors and RT?

A lot of people don’t know too much about RT, other than it sounds really scary. However, it’s a focused treatment that is usually directed to a specific area in the body. For example, for lung cancer, the intuitive thing is to usually treat the chest. However, as we know, lung cancer can go to different places and, once that happens, we want to figure out—besides just giving drug therapies—is there something else we can give to make the systemic therapy better?
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