A New Year Brings Treatment Options and Hope for Patients With Gastrointestinal Cancers

April 5, 2018

It's amazing what a new year can bring.

IT’S AMAZING WHAT A new year can bring.

At this time last year, patients with hepatocellular carcinoma were facing the fact that no new treatments for their disease had been approved in about 10 years.

Now, after initial therapy, these patients have the opportunity to consider two recently approved treatments: the targeted drug Stivarga (regorafenib) and the immunotherapy Opdivo (nivolumab). Meanwhile, according to recent clinical trial results, an additional targeted drug and another immunotherapy also look promising.

These are extremely exciting developments in a field that, over the last decade, has been marked by much effort — and just as much frustration.

The story is similar in a rare subtype of liver cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, which affects the bile ducts.

At the annual conference of the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation in February 2017, experts didn’t have much to offer when it came to emerging treatments for the condition. But this winter, the conference was brimming with news demonstrating a growing understanding of the genomics of the disease — a major step toward finding new therapies.

Scientists have not only identified a long list of genetic mutations that can drive cholangiocarcinomas, but have begun to classify these cancers into subtypes with different treatment needs. And they likely won’t have to start from scratch when it comes to developing those treatments: There are a number of existing targeted therapies that may be effective.

These are just some of the reasons we’re excited to present you with this special issue on gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, which also delves into the use of immunotherapy in GI cases characterized as microsatellite instability-high (MSI-high), meaning that cancer cells have trouble repairing their own DNA when it’s damaged.

Rounding out the issue are summaries of new research into treatments for pancreatic and anal cancers, and a consideration of the most cost-effective surgical methods for colorectal cancer. We hope that this array of information will leave you with a positive outlook about the ever-improving state of treatment for GI cancers. More specifically, our aim is to provide you with information that will help you make informed, confident decisions about your own course of treatment.

As always, thank you for reading.

MIKE HENNESSY, SR.Chairman and CEO


x