No more of the twelve study participants with rectal cancer had a tumor after treatment. “This is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” said a co-author of the research.
Results that “encourage great optimism.” American researchers from the Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center published Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the results of their work for a treatment for rectal cancer. Several months after the start of the clinical trial, the 12 patients treated with dostarlimab for six months no longer had a tumor.
“I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” he told au New York Times Dr. Luis A. Diaz, co-author of the study. “We’ve never seen anything work in 100% of people in cancer medicine,” said Hanna Sanoff of the University of North Carolina’s Cancer Center, who did not attend. to the study, but who applauded these results.
How does this treatment work?
Rectal cancer is a disease of the cells that line the inside of the rectum. explains the e-cancer site. It is one of the colorectal cancers, the third most common type of cancer in men and the second most common in women, according to Health Insurance.
In their study, researchers looked at a particular type of rectal cancer, one with a genetic mutation called MMrD (deficiency of mismatch repair). The mutations are found “in some genes that are involved in correcting mistakes made when copying DNA into a cell,” explains the American National Cancer Institute. And these mutations “can lead to cancer.”
To alleviate this anomaly, the study participants took it at the beginning and when all three weeks for six months. This treatment is already known, and is usually used against endometrial cancer.
It’s one of those drugs called “immune checkpoint inhibitors,” says Hanna Sanoff. “A person basically does the work”.
No sign of cancer two years later
Of the 12 patients treated with dostarlimab, none had clinically significant complications, the New York Times, but the number of participants is a bit weak to really notice the adverse effects. The newspaper notes that with this treatment, “on average, one in five patients has some form of adverse reaction.”
The study, published on Sunday, is the result of several months – up to two years – of follow-up of participants, after which no signs of tumor were detected in patients, whether by rectal touch, biopsy or MRI. . In addition, there was no need for subsequent chemoradiotherapy or surgery, “and no case of progression or recurrence has been reported,” the researchers write.
However, it encourages that these results, in order to be valid, must be complete for tests on cohorts of patients, plus important, to confirm the various data. In addition, “little is known about how long it takes for a complete clinical response to dostarlimab to be cured,” said Hannah Sanoff, for example, in an editor on the NEJM website.
However, she speaks of a “small but convincing” study, and of results that “encourage great optimism”, writing that the team of researchers provided “this could be an early glimpse of a revolutionary change in treatment. “