Williams Cancer Institute

Intratumoral Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy, to create a power synergy against cancer

So a lot of times, of course we’re talking about injecting immunotherapy into tumors, but one thing that’s been around for a while, but it’s getting a lot more interest is injecting chemotherapy into tumors and so you can inject multiple combinations of chemotherapy directly into the tumor. You’re getting a higher concentration in the tumor, lower concentration in the body. So of course you don’t get the side effects; The big thing, of course now is combining chemo therapy with immunotherapy. So in some of our cases we’ll inject chemo therapy with immunotherapy. The chemotherapy kills cancer which gets us pieces that the immune system needs to see; It also reduces some of the regulatory immune cells, these are cells that are protecting the cancer and chemotherapy has a lot of added benefits and particularly when you combine it with injecting immunotherapy, this is a powerful combination.

More recently they had the checkmate 816 study looking at lung cancer giving patients systemic chemotherapy and systemic immunotherapy and seeing a real benefit.

You know, one of the things of course that the caution is the use of steroids a lot of times when they’re giving systemic chemotherapy, they use steroids, The steroids may suppress the immune response; Of course that’s a nice thing when you inject into the tumor, you don’t have those issues.

You know, you don’t have to use steroids; The doses are so low, you’re not going to have other typical side effects of chemotherapy.

So this is very interesting option and certainly, you know, it’s really gaining a lot of ground with the combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. It is certainly worth thinking about.

Reference: Wu, J. a. (2018). Immunogenic chemotherapy: dose and schedule dependence and combination with immunotherapy. Cancer letters, 210-221.

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