A new immunotherapy treatment could stop the growth of colorectal cancer, which has reached epidemic levels among young people.
Researchers in New York City found that the drug botensilimab (BOT) shrank tumors by about 90 percent and expelled them from the intestinal wall, making the cancer less likely to spread and become terminal even if it did not. is eradicated.
Although the research is early, the authors believe that BOT could eliminate the need for chemotherapy after surgery and fill an “unmet need” in colorectal cancer patients who would not otherwise respond to this type of treatment.
Dr Pashtoon Kasi, director of colon cancer and liquid biopsy research at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told DailyMail.com: “There is an increase in young patients in their 20s, 30s and 40s who are being diagnosed Colorectal cancer”. which tend to be advanced or metastatic.
“Usually, when things spread, they often can’t be cured, so there has been an unmet need for more treatment options for our colorectal cancer patients.”
The graphic above shows a colorectal tumor being pushed from the deeper layers of the colon through the intestinal wall. This makes the tumor less likely to spread and can even “destage” it from stage 3 to stage 1.
Immunotherapy, which uses the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer, has produced “phenomenal” results in the past, Dr. Kasi said, but it doesn’t work for most patients.
Patients for whom it doesn’t work have “mismatch repair deficient,” meaning their tumors produce highly mutated cancer cells that don’t respond to immunotherapy. About 85 percent of colorectal cancer patients have poor mismatch repair.
These non-responsive tumors are considered “cold,” while those that respond are “hot.”
BOT, on the other hand, shows promise in such patients.
“The primary focus of the study is the unmet need for immunotherapy in patients for whom immunotherapy does not work,” Dr. Kasi said.
In the study, published Thursday in the journal OncogeneDr. Kasi and his team looked at 12 colorectal cancer patients between the ages of 26 and 78 in stages 1 to 3 of the disease, meaning the cancer had not spread to other parts of the body.
The researchers gave patients two doses of the drug via a 30- to 60-minute infusion two weeks apart. They could then have surgery as soon as a week later.
‘The treatment plan was as simple as possible. “I don’t think there could be any simpler study,” Dr. Kasi said.
The researchers found “significant cancer killing by immune cells,” Dr. Kasi said, about 80 to 90 percent. As the investigation is still early, the team does not yet have an exact figure.
None of the patients had surgery delayed and the main side effect was fever, which was more common in female participants.
Furthermore, the tumors began to behave in unexpected ways. Normally, as colon cancer progresses, tumors pass through several layers of the colon to advance and invade other organs. But with BOT, the tumors were expelled through the intestinal wall.
“The trash, so to speak, was being cleared to the door,” Dr. Kasi said.
This prevented the cancer from spreading and reduced it, in some cases, from stage 3 to stage 1.
Dr. Kasi said this could eliminate the need for chemotherapy entirely. He also believes that in the future this type of treatment could be applied to other types of cancer.
Evan White is pictured above with his fiancée Katie Briggs and their dog Lola. The couple began dating when Evan had cancer and became engaged when his condition stabilized. However, he died after four years fighting the disease.
Marisa Maddox, pictured, was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 29. This has made her infertile, depriving her of the opportunity to have the large family she always wanted.
The study has several limitations, including the small sample size of only 12 participants. Furthermore, the findings are preliminary and results from only two patients have been published.
Colorectal cancer rates are rising around the world, causing an epidemic among young people.
Rates are expected to double among young people by 2030, and colorectal cancer is also expected to become the leading cause of cancer deaths in people under 50 by the end of the decade.
This is based on data from JAMA Surgerywhich found that between 2010 and 2030, colon cancer will have increased by 90 percent in people aged 20 to 34. Rectal cancer will have increased by 124 percent in the same age group.
Colon and rectal cancers are the third most common type in the U.S. and the third leading cause of death in both men and women.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that about 153,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be detected this year, including 19,500 among those under 50 years of age.
About 52,550 people are expected to die from the disease.
Evan White, 24, of Dallas, was one of them. White had just graduated with a degree in finance from the University of Arkansas when he was diagnosed with colon cancer after ignoring its main symptom, fatigue, for months.
The tumor was not detected until it progressed to stage three, meaning it had spread outside the colon, making it much more difficult to treat.
He was on track to marry his girlfriend and move to California, but his dreams were cut short when he died after a four-year battle with the disease.
Mr White’s mother, Dana, told DailyMail.com that her then 24-year-old son’s diagnosis was “just not something you would expect from someone so young”.
Data from JAMA Surgery showed that colon cancer is expected to increase by 90 percent in people ages 20 to 34.
The same data shows that rectal cancer will increase by 124 percent in the youngest age group
Paralegal Marisa Maddox survived the illness but was robbed of the opportunity to have the big family she had always wanted after her colon cancer diagnosis at age 29 left her infertile.
Experts are still working to unravel the cause of this devastating epidemic.
This change has commonly been blamed on unhealthy diets, alcohol consumption, and sedentary lifestyles.
A study from the Cleveland Clinic suggested that eating red meat and sugar could increase the chances of young people developing colorectal cancer.
However, some research suggests otherwise.
A 2021 studyFor example, he found that patients with early-onset cancer were less likely to be obese or smokers than their older counterparts.
TO study published in April examined how being born by cesarean section influenced the chance of developing early-onset colorectal cancer. The researchers found that women born by cesarean section were more likely to develop colorectal cancer at a younger age than those born vaginally. There was no association among men.
Additionally, the use of antibiotics has been shown to affect this risk. One study in the journal Gut found that long-term antibiotic use increased the risk of early-onset colon cancer. However, it was also associated with a lower risk of rectal cancer.
And a study showed that the fungus Cladosporium sp. It was more common in tumors from young patients than in older ones.
It is still unclear how Cladosporium sp. could cause this increase in cases, but researchers believe it could damage cellular DNA. This could cause them to turn into cancer cells.
These environmental factors have a lasting impact on the gut microbiome, which experts believe could increase the risk of colorectal cancer, even when exposure is limited to early life.
Part of what makes colorectal cancer difficult to diagnose are its symptoms, which can often be attributed to other conditions. However, some stand out more than others.
A study published earlier this year in the Magazine of the National Cancer Institute found that the most reported symptoms were abdominal pain, blood in the stool, diarrhea, and iron deficiency anemia.
Additionally, in a 2020 survey conducted by Colorectal Cancer Alliance, 68 percent of participants said they experienced blood in their stool. The average age of the participants was 42 years.
The same survey also found that many patients with colorectal cancer symptoms were initially misdiagnosed or ruled out.
Going longer without a diagnosis could allow colorectal cancer to progress to later stages, making it more difficult to treat.
Amid concern about the rising rate among younger adults, in 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lowered the screening age from 50 to 45.
This is usually a colonoscopy, in which a camera is inserted into a person’s rectum to look for growths or changes in their intestine.
The rest of the study results are expected to be published within a few weeks, and an expanded trial is currently underway.