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Chemo Appears to Improve Outcomes When Added to Immunotherapy in Subset of Gastrointestinal Cancers

For a paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, a team from Peking University Cancer Hospital and Institute, the Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, and elsewhere compare checkpoint inhibitor chemotherapy with or without chemotherapy to treat gastrointestinal cancer cases marked by tumor microsatellite instability (MSI) or mismatch repair deficiency (dMMR). For their retrospective study, the researchers brought together data for more than 250 eligible gastrointestinal cancer patients treated at centers across China, including 188 individuals treated with anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy treatments and 68 patients receiving chemotherapy and anti-PD-1/PD-L1 treatment. In those cases, they saw more favorable objective response rates, disease control rates, progression-free survival, and overall survival in the patients receiving both chemotherapy and anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. "In conclusion," the authors report, "this multicenter retrospective cohort study demonstrated that anti-PD-1/PD-L1 plus chemotherapy significantly improved the prognosis of patients with MSI/dMMR gastrointestinal cancer compared with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 monotherapy, but the conclusions need to be further confirmed in prospective trials."