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Female Reproductive Cancer: Is Immunotherapy an Option?

08 Apr, 2022

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Cancer that starts in the female reproductive organs and spreads throughout the body is female reproductive cancer or ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is frequently diagnosed after it has progressed to the pelvis and stomach, and ovarian cancer is more difficult to cure and can be deadly at this stage. In the early stages of ovarian cancer, there are generally no symptoms. Symptoms, such as lack of appetite and weight loss, are connected with later phases, but they might be non-specific.

The treatment of disease by stimulating or inhibiting the immune system is known as Immunotherapy or biological therapy. Immunotherapies that elicit or magnify an immunological response are called activation immunotherapies, whereas those that diminish or suppress the immune response are called suppression immunotherapies. Immunotherapy has piqued the interest of academics, doctors, and pharmaceutical corporations in recent years, owing to its potential to treat a variety of cancers. As a result, the standard of cancer care is evolving, as is the complexity of patient care management.

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Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in more than three hundred thousand people worldwide each year, with 180,000 fatalities. Ovarian cancer is projected to be diagnosed in around 21,000 persons in the United States in 2021. It causes the death of most of that number, making it the top cause of death from gynecologic cancer.

While there have been substantial advancements in chemo-based medicine and surgical therapies for ovarian cancer, the survival rate has not increased a lot. Patients with ovarian cancer at a further stage have a dismal prognosis due to late detection and a lack of proper treatment for patients that recur. Chemotherapy helps many women with advanced ovarian cancer, although the effects are usually short-lived.

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Treatment Options for Ovarian Cancer

There are several options for ovarian cancer treatment. They are :

Surgery is followed by routine chemotherapy. In more than 50% of the patients, this course of therapy results in complete response. On normal blood tests and imaging scans, a complete response indicates no apparent indication of illness. After completing upfront chemotherapy, some patients might qualify for maintenance therapy with drugs of a new class known as PARP inhibitors. PARP inhibitors have proved to have delayed and prevented relapse of the disease in some patients, particularly in tumors that carry mutations in the BRCA2 and BRCA1 genes.

Immunotherapy Treatment for Ovarian Cancer

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses the system of immunity in the patient’s body to help eliminate cancer cells. The FDA has authorized three immunotherapy treatments. They are as follows :

  • Targeted Antibodies

Bevacizumab (Avastin®): an antibody of the monoclonal kind that suppresses tumour blood vessel development by targeting the VEGFR/VEGF pathway; authorized for patients diagnosed recently and recurrent cancer in the ovary.

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  • Immunomodulators

Dostarlimab (Jemperli) is an inhibitor of a checkpoint that targets the PD-L1/PD-1 pathway and has been authorised for people with ovarian cancer of the advanced kind who have mismatch repair failure in DNA.

Pembrolizumab is an inhibitor of a checkpoint that targets the PD-L1/PD-1 pathway and has been authorised for people with ovarian cancer of the advanced kind who have high microsatellite instability (MSI-H), mismatch repair failure in DNA, or a high tumour mutational load (TMB-H)

Clinical trials are often unnecessary for patients with first stage malignancies (survival rates of higher than 95% following complete surgery). Patients with platinum-resistant, recurrent ovarian cancer might consider participating in clinical trials for Immunotherapy.

All-in-all!

In conclusion, Immunotherapy has emerged as a viable treatment therapy for curing Ovarian Cancer, and it might become a much more popular method for treating Ovarian Cancer in the future.

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