News from IMIM
An international multicentre study led by cancer specialist Joaquim Bellmunt, director of the IMIM and coordinator of the IMIM's Genitourinary Oncology research group, has demonstrated the effectiveness of immunotherapy in treating advanced bladder cancer when the initial chemotherapy using cisplatin no longer works. It is the first time patient survival has been significantly prolonged in this kind of situation.
The treatment also improves the quality of life of patients with respect to chemotherapy. This phase III study published in the New England Journal of Medicine becomes a reference work as until now there had been no significant breakthroughs in bladder cancer treatment that could be applied when the first option was no longer effective. These results provide evidence supporting the use of Pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy drug, as a new standard treatment for advanced bladder cancer.
The study, coordinated from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, involved a total of 542 patients from 29 countries, who were divided into two groups. The first set were given the immunotherapy drug Pembrolizumab, while the others took one of the three chemotherapeutics commonly used. “The results of the trial show that patients treated with immunotherapy using Pembrolizumab, had a greater overall survival rate, fewer side effects, and a better quality of life, in contrast to patients treated with chemotherapy.
Bellmunt J, de Wit R, Vaughn DJ, Fradet Y, Lee JL, Fong L, Vogelzang NJ, Climent MA, Petrylak DP, Choueiri TK, Necchi A, Gerritsen W, Gurney H, Quinn DI, Culine S, Sternberg CN, Mai Y, Poehlein CH, Perini RF, Bajorin DF; KEYNOTE-045 Investigators. Pembrolizumab as Second-Line Therapy for Advanced Urothelial Carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 2017