For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an immunotherapy as a first treatment, in combination with chemotherapy, for people with advanced stomach cancer. Paul E. Oberstein, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and director of the Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology Program at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, tells SurvivorNet that the immunotherapy, called Opdivo, will allow doctors to treat a larger group of patients at the beginning of their therapy.
“Gastric cancer is an increasing cause of cancer death worldwide, and although chemotherapy provides benefits alone, the ability to add Opdivo to chemotherapy means that we can potentially achieve better outcomes for our patients,” Dr. Oberstein says. “This approval will also stimulate further research into immunotherapy combinations and hopefully lead to more advances in customizing therapy based on each patient’s specific tumor.”
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