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ASTRO 2022: Can Adding Radiotherapy to Immunotherapy Improve Outcomes in Advanced Liver Cancer?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Monday, November 7, 2022

According to research presented at the 2022 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting (Abstract 295), patients with advanced liver cancer who undergo immunotherapy may benefit from also receiving radiotherapy. Immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment is often accompanied by primary or required resistance in this patient population.

“Radiotherapy enhances the [immune checkpoint inhibitors’] efficacy in patients with advanced liver cancer by improving control of the systemic disease without an increase in toxic effects,” concluded Shu Jung Hsu, MD, of Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, and colleagues.

Between August 2018 and June 2021, the retrospective study enrolled 180 patients who had received either immune checkpoint inhibitor monotherapy (n = 93) or a combination of radiotherapy plus immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment (n = 87). Patients in the latter group had been administered radiotherapy within 60 days of the initiation of a PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitor.

According to the investigators, survival outcomes were substantially better in the radiotherapy cohort, with a median progression-free survival of 8.1 versus 3.0 months in the monotherapy group and a median overall survival of 21.7 versus 13.3 months in the monotherapy group. Objective response and disease control rates were also higher in the radiotherapy group. Compared with the monotherapy cohort, the objective response and disease control rates in the radiotherapy group were 49.0% versus 22.4% and 71.4% versus 32.7%, respectively. Combined treatment of radiotherapy plus immunotherapy was identified by multivariate analysis as an independent factor for both progression-free and overall survival. Treatment-related adverse events were comparable between the cohorts.

Disclosure: Dr. Hsu reported no conflicts of interest.

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