Originally published June 10, 2021

Incidence of and deaths from cervical cancer in the United States have dropped sharply in the past 40 years. But surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy have limitations, and outcomes remain poor for women with locally advanced or metastatic disease. However, according to data presented in the Education Session “Cervical Cancer: The Past, Present, and Future” during the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting, new advances in combination immunotherapy–based treatments are giving women with late-stage cervical cancer new opportunities at lasting recovery.

Targeting the Immune System

As single agents, immunotherapies—particularly, immune checkpoint inhibitors—have shown varying degrees of benefit for women with advanced cervical cancer, said Dmitriy Zamarin, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in his presentation, “The Emerging Role of Immunotherapy in the Management of Cervical Cancer.”

For instance, KEYNOTE-158, which looked at the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab, had an objective response rate (ORR) of 15% in women with PD-L1–positive disease and 0% in PD-L1–negative disease.1 This led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of pembrolizumab for PD-L1–positive cervical cancer.

Read more in ASCO Daily News.