With Addition of Checkpoint Inhibitors, Chemotherapy 'Not Going Away Anytime Soon'

With new ways to treat chemotherapy-induced side effects, it seems that chemotherapy, combined with checkpoint inhibitors, is here to stay for the foreseeable future, according to one expert.

The key to successful chemotherapy responses may involve combining the treatment with checkpoint inhibitors. Even as treatments for cancer evolve, chemotherapy has been the standard-of-care for patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) for the past 20 years. With the addition of certain drugs, such as checkpoint inhibitors, researchers have found new ways to alleviate chemotherapy-induced side effects, such as myelosuppression, one study suggested.

“In 30 or 40 years from now chemotherapy may have gone away, but it’s not going away anytime soon, and there are certain tumor types such as small cell lung cancer and triple-negative breast cancer where chemotherapy remains the foundation of treatment for advanced disease,” said Dr. Lowell Hart. “So that’s not going to change anytime soon.”

During the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, Hart, the Scientific Director for Clinical Research at Florida Cancer Specialists, discussed the future of chemotherapy and the latest advancements in SCLC treatment as well as his recent study findings.