A promising treatment for colon cancer

A promising treatment for colon cancer
The treatment trial has shown dramatic results in a particular subtype of colorectal cancer patients. 378743879/Suttipun – stock.adobe.com

DECRYPTION – In the future, immunotherapy could avoid surgery for certain patients with specific localized tumours.

It’s not often that medical convention audiences clap in the middle of a presentation. Yet this is what happened last week at the International Cancer Congress (Esmo) in Paris. Researcher Myriam Chalabi, from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, presented the results of a phase III trial (the most relevant for deciding on the usefulness of a treatment) on the interest of immunotherapy before surgery in a particular subtype of colorectal cancer patients. “Unprecedented”, “exceptional”the dithyrambic qualifiers of commentators are not so frequently used in oncology.

The patients concerned have a very genetically unstable tumour, called MSI, for microsatellite instability. This anomaly is routinely detected using a test during the diagnostic biopsy (performed on a piece of tumor removed during surgery). It is present in 10% to 15% of patients with…

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