Colon cancer and immunotherapy

“In this clinical trial we will investigate the effect and safety of immunotherapy before surgical treatment of patients with dMMR-type colon cancer. This is a subtype of cancer seen in one in seven of the 3,400 patients diagnosed with colon cancer each year in Denmark,” explains Ismail Gögenur, Professor and Senior Consultant at the Zealand University Hospital Department of Surgery.

In the study supported by the Vissing Foundation, researchers will treat 85 patients with localised colon cancer (which has not spread to other parts of the body) at hospitals throughout Denmark.

“We will develop biomarkers based on analyses of blood and tissue samples, CT scans and colonoscopies to enable us to predict the effects of treatment and which patients will benefit most from immunotherapy,” says Ismail Gögenur.

The researchers do not know the final effect of immunotherapy on this group of patients. As part of their standard treatment, therefore, the patients will undergo surgery to remove their tumours after immunotherapy.

“This study opens a great perspective for patients, both now and in the future. It is our expectation that immunotherapy will cause the cancer to disappear or shrink, while at the same time it reduces the risk of the cancer relapsing after surgery,” explains Ismail Gögenur.

He also expects, therefore, that in the long term the study will lead to a larger study in future, in which some of the group of patients with the dMMR subtype of colon cancer will be offered immunotherapy without subsequent surgery.