Walter Curran, MD, on Integration of Immunotherapy with Radiation Therapy


Walter Curran, MD, detailed his presentation on immunotherapy and radiation therapy, and how integrating the 2 treatment options presents an exciting opportunity moving forward.

Walter Curran, MD, of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University, discussed the opportunities with integration of immunotherapy with radiation therapy at the 17thAnnual Winter Lung Conference in Miami Beach, Florida.


There’s so many new advances in immuno-oncology now. We’ve now had several pathways forward to know how to best integrate it with radiation oncology. There’s really two areas I talked about today. One was for patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer where those patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation now have an opportunity to receive immuno-oncology agents afterwards based on the pacific trial where survival benefit was demonstrated with the addition of durvalumab to that regimen. Now we’re really building on that platform and thinking of new ways to test this either to give additional immunotherapy during the chemo radiation, prior to or perhaps add another agent. So, I did summarize the ongoing trials in that space.

The second area I talked about is in the setting of using high-dose, highly focused stereotactic radiation, or SBRT, often for patients with earlier stage lung cancer.

So, we’ll see the value, and the final area I talked about is can SBRT or some other form of radiation actually induce a sufficient immune response to actually confer a benefit to patients receiving (immunotherapy) agents even in the metastatic setting. Is there the possibility that so called immunologically cold tumors can be made to be “hotter” by a radial therapy treatment of some type and therefore respond to immune agents better? I showed some interesting randomized phase II data addressing that and really find that to be an exciting opportunity moving forward.

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