A cancer trial has reportedly become the first in the world to completely remove the disease in every patient, according to a study published Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study, titled “PD-1 Blockade in Mismatch Repair—Deficient, Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer” was conducted among 12 rectal cancer patients, all of which had a “clinical complete response,” according to the authors, led by Dr. Andrea Cercek of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City.
Doctors have been unable to see any evidence of tumors among the patients when using magnetic resonance imaging, fludeoxyglucose F 18 injections, physical examinations, or via endoscopic evaluations, according to researchers.
Furthermore, the patients continued to show no signs of cancer during follow-ups ranging from 6 to 25 months and have not had to undergo surgery or receive radiation and chemotherapy.
“No adverse events of grade 3 or higher have been reported,” the authors noted.
Specifically, the rectal cancer patients were given dostarlimab, a monoclonal antibody, every 3 weeks for 6 months. The patients had mismatch repair-deficient stage two or three rectal adenocarcinomas, a type of cancer.
The median age of the patients enrolled was 54 years and 62 percent were women.
Typically, such cancer patients would have needed to undergo often debilitating treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery and in extreme cases, be fitted with colostomy bags.
However, after taking dostarlimab, which is sold under the brand name Jemperli, no cases of progression or recurrence were reported in the patients who underwent the study.
Dostarlimab is already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of adult patients with mismatch repair-deficient recurrent or advanced solid tumors. Rectal cancer is an off-label use, according to Medscape.
According to Drugs.com, the cost of Jemperli intravenous solution (500 mg/10 mL) is around $11,201 for a supply of 10 milliliters.
The results of the study were also presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2022 annual meeting.