Breakthroughs in Immunotherapy From ASCO 2020

Louis M. Weiner, MD

Disclosures

June 25, 2020

Breakthroughs in immunotherapy from ASCO 2020 are discussed by Dr Louis Weiner, director of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC.

Dr Weiner attributes recent momentum in immunotherapy to two factors: better use of existing agents and development of new strategies to manipulate cancer biology.

He sees the exciting results of KEYNOTE-177 as an example of insightful use of existing agents. In this study, which was part of the ASCO plenary presentation, frontline use of pembrolizumab in MSI-H/MMRd metastatic colorectal cancer doubled disease-free survival compared with chemotherapy.

Among emerging strategies, Dr Weiner points to development of bispecific antibodies, such as those used in a phase 1, first-in-human trial of a DART molecule that binds PD-1 and LAG-3. The agent showed an antitumor response in the majority of patients treated, across several tumor types.

Novel cellular therapies are another promising area of investigation. In this category, Dr Weiner discusses a CAR T cell–related abstract presented by Dr Hans Prenen that examines an innovative non–gene-edited allogeneic CAR T cell strategy for solid tumors.

Dr Weiner also reports on the APOLLO study, which looked at adaptive memory natural killer (NK) cells in recurrent ovarian cancer. In his view, NK cells represent an entirely new cell population that can be utilized for the treatment of cancer patients.

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