January 10, 2022
Immunotherapy Use Increased in Patients Ineligible for Cancer Trials, Highlighting the Need for More Research in Vulnerable Populations
Ravi Parikh spoke to CURE about his recent study in JAMA Oncology, which explored the higher rate of immunotherapies used in trial-ineligible patients compared to trial-eligible patients to treat cancer. Dr. Parikh and researchers learned that there isn’t necessarily a benefit to using these novel therapies in lieu of traditional chemotherapy for trial-ineligible patients.
Patients with advanced cancers who were not eligible for clinical trials were nearly twice as likely to receive first-line immune checkpoint inhibitors compared with those who participated in trials, although this treatment had no overall survival benefit and could cause early harm, according to recent study results.
Findings from this study suggest that patients with poor physical status or organ dysfunction should have careful discussions with their cancer teams about the potential risks and benefits of immune checkpoint inhibitors if they are considering it as a treatment option.
Parikh added that results from this study are “the strongest evidence to date that quantifies the uptake and effectiveness of these drugs in this vulnerable patient population. I think the key message is we need better and more trials in patients traditionally excluded from clinical trials so that we can adequately counsel our patients.”