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Checkpoint Inhibitors Under Investigation in Upper GI and Gastric Cancers

Aiwu Ruth He, MD
Published Online:6:38 PM, Wed January 8, 2020

Aiwu Ruth He, MD, an associate professor of Medicine at Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the current role of immune checkpoint inhibitors in upper gastrointestinal (GI) and gastric cancers and which patients are most likely to benefit from the anti–PD-1 agents.

For patients with upper GI or gastric cancer, the single-agent anti–PD-1 therapy nivolumab (Opdivo) is available in the chemotherapy-refractory setting. Patients need to have a combined positive score (CPS) greater than 1 to receive this therapy, He notes, as those patients tend to benefit from anti–PD-1 therapy.

Some clinical trials are also evaluating checkpoint inhibitors in the frontline and secondline setting for patients with upper GI and gastric cancers. Initial data have shown patients with a CPS score greater than 10 may receive benefit from the therapy. However, He says more prospective studies evaluating more patients with upper GI and gastric cancers are needed.
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