Cancer Vanishes for Every Patient with Dostarlimab

Cancer Vanishes for Every Patient with Dostarlimab
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A small group of patients with rectal cancer have experienced a scientific miracle - a cancer drug that made their cancer vanish completely. 

In a small trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, patients with rectal cancer received dostarlimab, an anti–PD-1 monoclonal antibody, administered every three weeks for six months. The trial included only 12 people, but the results show that the cancer tumour has disappeared in every single patient. These kinds of results have never been witnessed in the history of cancer research. 

All 12 patients had a 100% clinical complete response, with no evidence of the tumour on magnetic resonance imaging, 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose–positron-emission tomography, endoscopic evaluation, digital rectal examination, or biopsy. At the time of this report, no patients had received chemoradiotherapy or undergone surgery, and no cases of progression or recurrence had been reported during follow-up. In addition, no adverse events of grade 3 or higher have been reported.

Dostarlimab is from a class of drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors. These medicines have been around in melanoma and other cancers for a while but have not been part of the routine care for colorectal cancers. 

While the results of this small trial are extremely promising, they should be viewed with caution until they can be replicated in a much larger and more diverse population. It is also still unknown how long the benefits of the drug will last since the patients in the trial have only been observed for six months to two years. 
However, there is no doubt that this drug has great potential, and its effect on cancer patients should be explored more comprehensively. It would be a great day indeed when cancer patients would be able to receive a drug that is more effective, less toxic and can help avoid surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. 

Source: NEJM
Image Credit: iStock

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Cercek A, Lumish M, Sinopoli J et al. (2022) PD-1 Blockade in Mismatch Repair–Deficient, Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer. NEJM. Doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2201445

Published on : Wed, 8 Jun 2022

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