Checkpoint inhibitors, Enhertu in spotlight as ASCO resumes in-person meetings

Researchers also dove into socio-economic disparities in cancer care.

Last month in Chicago, Illinois the American Society of Clinical Oncology hosted its first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In presentations and published abstracts, researchers shared a massive amount of data across all cancer types and treatment modalities. Below are just a few of the highlights from the show.

Many wins for checkpoint inhibitors

Checkpoint inhibitors are a growing class of immunotherapy drugs that use monoclonal antibodies to activate checkpoint proteins, thus helping reactivate parts of the patient’s immune system that a cancer cell has shut down. Led by Merck’s blockbuster Keytruda, these drugs have been making waves in the oncology space for some time, and this year’s ASCO kept up that trend.

For instance, a small trial of GSK’s Jemperli (dostarlimab-gxly) saw a rare 100% response rate in a small study of 12 patients with mismatch-repair deficient, locally advanced rectal cancer. At six months, all patients had no evidence of a tumour, allowing them to skip the chemotherapy and/or surgery that would normally be their next treatment.

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