Immune Therapy Produces Anti-Cancer Responses in Advanced Cervical Cancer

Adoptive T-cell therapy (ACT) appears to provide anti-cancer responses among patients with advanced cervical cancer for whom standard therapy has stopped working. These results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The most common cause of cervical cancer is infection with particular strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). As such, vaccinations against the virus have been developed to reduce the risk of the development of cervical cancer altogether.

Although regular screening methods, including the Pap test and HPV screening test have drastically reduced the rates of mortality from cervical cancer, some women still experience advanced cervical cancer, which remains fairly non-responsive to standard therapies.

The therapeutic approach including ACT is rapidly emerging through developmental phases as a potential treatment against several different types of cancers. The treatment includes the collection of a patient’s own type of immune cell (T-cell), that are engineered through laboratory processes to identify and attack cancer cells when infused back into the patient’s body.

Researchers affiliated with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently conducted a small clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of ACT in the treatment of advanced cervical cancer. The T-cells from patients were selected based upon their ability to fight certain strains of HPV associated with cervical cancer.

The trial included 9 patients with cervical cancer that had spread to distant sites in the body. Patients had received prior therapy with chemotherapy, and their cancer had progressed or recurred following therapy. All patients were treated with just one single infusion of ACT.

  • Two patients achieved a complete disappearance of their cancer.
  • One patient achieved a partial reduction in their cancer.
  • Patients whose T-cells demonstrated the greatest immune activity against HPV achieved the greatest responses.

The researchers concluded that this type of therapy appears promising in the treatment against advanced cervical cancer among patients who have received prior therapy. They stated that “continued investigation of this therapy is warranted.”

Reference: Stevanovic S, Draper L, Langhan M, et al. Complete regression of metastatic cervical cancer after treatment with human papillomavirus-targeted tumor-infiltrating T cells. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2015; 10:33(4): 1543-1550. Doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.58.9093.

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