From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders
December 6, 2019
Currently, the five-year survival rate for advanced stomach cancer is 68% – if it is caught and treated at an early stage. If the cancer has spread to nearby areas of the body, it drops to 31%. OHC is helping to improve these rates by treating stomach cancer with the immunotherapy drug, Keytruda.
“Stomach cancer is difficult to treat because like many other cancers, it typically isn’t found until at a later stage. When it reaches later stages, it may be inoperable and/or not respond to chemotherapy and radiation,” said OHC’s Suzanne M. Partridge, MD, medical oncologist and hematologist.
“Now we have this encouraging approach called immunotherapy. Rather than attacking the cancer directly, it helps the body’s immune system recognize cancer cells and kill them. For patients with advanced stomach cancer, it’s a great option because the immune system may reach cancer that standard treatment such as surgery or chemotherapy cannot. It may also help when the cancer doesn’t respond to standard treatment,” she said.
Cancer has found a way to outsmart the body’s immune system. Cancer cells have a protein called PD-L1 that allows it to “hide” from immune system cells, preventing them from doing their job to recognize and attack the cancer. The immunotherapy drugs, like Keytruda, stop the work of the PD-L1 protein. Now the cancer can no longer ‘hide’ and the immune system can recognize the cancer cells and kill them, typically without harming normal cells.
“We’re seeing promising responses using immunotherapy to treat patients with advanced stomach cancer as well as many other types of cancer,” Dr. Partridge noted. “Not only is it stopping the growth of the cancer, it has fewer side effects and so our patients aren’t as sick during treatment. Their cancer is in check and many patients have returned to the activities they enjoy.”
OHC continues to lead the fight against cancer by making immunotherapy available for many other types of cancer through its clinical trials program. This program gives patients early access to promising treatments and a new sense of hope. If you would like to learn more about immunotherapy, please visit here. To learn more about stomach cancer, please visit here or call OHC at 1-800-710-4674 for information or a second opinion.Comments (0)