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24.06.2022 08:23

Study at University Medicine Halle points to success of immunotherapy in the treatment of advanced stomach cancer

Patricia Grünzweig Stabsstelle Presse und Unternehmenskommunikation
Universitätsmedizin Halle (Saale)

    A clinical trial conducted by researchers at University Medicine Halle has shown that the lives of patients with a certain form of stomach cancer can be significantly prolonged when the current standard of care, which uses a combination of antibody therapy and chemotherapy to inhibit cell growth through receptor blockades, is supplemented by immunotherapy with the drug nivolumab.

    Stomach cancer affects 15,000 people every year. In many patients, the development of this type of cancer can go undetected for a long time due to the fact that symptoms are often non-specific during the early stages of the disease. However, the longer it takes to diagnose the cancer, the harder it is to successfully treat. “Currently, the treatment of advance, metastatic stomach cancer is primarily palliative, aimed at repressing and controlling symptoms,” says Professor Mascha Binder, director of the University Clinic and Outpatient Clinic for Internal Medicine IV at University Medicine Halle.
    Even though immunotherapy is having an increasing impact on the treatment of stomach cancer, it is currently not approved for all patients. For patients with HER2-positive tumors, the standard of care to date has consisted of chemotherapy and targeted antibody therapy against HER2, the binding sites for certain growth factors on the surface of tumor cells. The average survival time after diagnosis for those affected is 15 months.
    As part of the INTEGA study, Professor Binder’s research team investigated two experimental immunotherapy regimens for treating HER2-positive stomach cancer. In the first regimen, HER2 antibody therapy was combined with a potent immunotherapy using the drugs nivolumab and ipilimumab. The second regimen expanded the current treatment of HER2 antibody therapy and chemotherapy to include immunotherapy with nivolumab. While the first regimen showed comparable results to the previous standard of care, patients from the second group lived an average of 22 months – in other words 7 months longer - than without immunotherapy treatment. “We were able to show that immunotherapy, as an adjunct to the current standard of care, has a beneficial effect on the progression of stomach cancer and can extend patients’ lives by nearly 50 percent”, says Binder.
    The results are published in JAMA oncology.

    Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

    University Medicine Halle
    University Clinic and Outpatient Clinic for Internal Medicine IV
    Prof. Dr. Mascha Binder
    +49 345 557 2924


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    Ernährung / Gesundheit / Pflege, Medizin
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