Immunotherapy is now an established treatment approach for patients with cancer across oncology. Immunotherapy agents are a newer type of anticancer drug, and the drugs in the largest class, checkpoint inhibitors, block the checkpoint pathways that cancer cells use to shut down the patient’s immune system. Checkpoint inhibitors are associated with more durable clinical responses compared to both small molecule targeted therapy and conventional chemotherapy (CT). Because checkpoint inhibitors have unique mechanisms of action, they also produce immune-related adverse events and response patterns that are markedly distinct from targeted agents or conventional CT. The 5 currently available immunotherapy agents have 18 indications across multiple cancer types. Checkpoint inhibitors demonstrate the potential to change current cancer treatment paradigms.
In this interactive CE activity, a leading medical oncologist discusses highlights of several key presentations from the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting on the use of checkpoint inhibitors in several cancer types. Topics include questions on appropriate clinical setting for immunotherapy (eg, refractory cancer), dose, combination therapy, treatment beyond progression, and side-effect profile for patients.
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