Determining the Optimal Timing for Immunotherapy in Patients With GEJ Cancers

November 1, 2019
Daniel Catenacci, MD

Daniel Catenacci, MD, discusses how he makes decisions with immunotherapeutic agents for the treatment of patients with gastroesophageal junction cancer. He says he bases his sequencing decisions on a number of factors.

Daniel Catenacci, MD, associate professor, University of Chicago, discusses how he makes decisions with immunotherapeutic agents for the treatment of patients with gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. He says he bases his sequencing decisions on a number of factors.

These factors include what line of therapy the patient is at, patient characteristics, burden of disease, symptoms, and the patient’s performance status, says Catenacci. Many studies today are selecting patients based on given biomarkers that require central confirmation. However, it takes several weeks to get that answer, imposing a selection bias by making patients wait that period of time before beginning treatment.

Because of this, patients on studies are not necessarily representative of real-world patients where many patients need therapy almost immediately in any line, Catenacci adds. These patients are often better served by receiving chemotherapy first.

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These factors can help in determining the sequence of immunotherapy for patients with GEJ cancer. Catenacci says treatment can be optimized for each patient by understanding the patient characteristics and the biology of the tumor. For example, if the tumor is microsatellite instability