L’immunoncologia An objective achieved also thanks to immuno-oncology, a new type of therapeutic strategy based on the use of immunotherapy as a possible cure for cancer. With an innovative approach to the treatment of the disease, it has changed the standard of care in various tumors, increasing survival even in patients in the metastatic stage and with neoplasia against which, until just 10 years ago, there was no effective therapy, from mesothelioma melanoma. Italy is at the forefront of immuno-oncology research, as stated by Michele Maio, president of the Nibit Foundation and director of the Oncology Department of the University of Siena and of the Immuno-Oncology Center of the Sienese university hospital. “After the first two great steps forward in the challenge to tumors represented by chemotherapy and targeted therapies, in the last ten years there has been a turning point thanks to immuno-oncology, which today is the standard of care in various metastatic or high-stage neoplasms risk of disease recurrence after surgery: from melanoma, to lung cancer, to mesothelioma, to renal cell carcinoma up to gastrointestinal and genitourinary ones. And studies are underway in many other neoplasms”.
Metastatic melanoma About 50% of patients with metastatic melanoma develop brain metastases: “with the Nibit-m2 study, for example, for the first time – says Maio – we have broken the dogma according to which immunotherapy does not work in these cases, and about the 50% of these patients are alive and free of disease at 5 years compared to the 4-5 months we were used to.”
Lung cancer Furthermore, today “about 75% of cases of lung cancer, one of the most difficult neoplasms to treat, are diagnosed in an advanced stage – explains Federico Cappuzzo, director of Oncology Medica 2, Istituto Nazionale Tumori Regina Elena in Rome -. Even in this tumor , immuno-oncology has changed the paradigm of care.Dual immunotherapy, with nivolumab plus ipilimumab, in combination with two cycles of chemotherapy, in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, improved overall survival by 21% at four years of patients alive compared to 16% with chemotherapy alone.”
Smoking hinders the positive trend for women “For too long, lung cancer has been considered an almost exclusively male pathology – explains Stefania Vallone, Walce Secretary (Women Aganist Lung Cancer in Europe) -. In recent years there has been a strong growth also among women due to the increase in cigarette smoking addiction in the female population. Primary prevention is one of the pillars of our Association, which also wants to contribute to the diffusion of greater awareness on the meaning of therapeutic innovation. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of lung cancer is still late , but new tools like immuno-oncology are improving the chances of long-term survival, with a good quality of life.”
Countryside To tell all citizens about these important results, the third stage of the ‘I know too’ awareness campaign, presented today at a press conference, is taking place in Rome from today until Sunday 18 June. The campaign includes meetings in public squares, with the presence of patient associations and the distribution of information material, and the activation of a dedicated portal (www.bms.com/it/losoanchio.html).