EOS discusses novel cancer treatment indications
Treating cancer is perhaps one of the most complex and critical aspects of medical care.
Dubai - The new treatment options will revolutionise the treatment paradigm and add to the world-class cancer care ecosystem available to those who live in the UAE.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death around the world, and currently accounts for up to 16 per cent of total mortality in some parts of the UAE such as Abu Dhabi. The number of cancer patients has risen in recent years largely as a result of improved diagnostic measures. However, the UAE is aiming to reduce cancer fatalities by 18 per cent by 2021 as part of the National Agenda. To enable this, the oncology landscape is constantly evolving with new innovations and chemotherapy management options being developed, giving patients in the UAE the best hope of optimal outcomes.
Treating cancer is perhaps one of the most complex and critical aspects of medical care, as it must take into account the type of cancer, location, stage, genetic characteristics and side effects. Head and neck cancers in particular can be difficult for patients to fight, as they affect visible parts of the body and hinder activities such as eating, drinking and speaking which limit social activity and can have deep physiological ramifications.
Considering this, head and neck cancers are increasing in prevalence; they are the seventh most common cancer worldwide and cases are expected to rise to 833,000 by 2020. Lifestyle factors such as smoking and high consumption of alcohol contribute greatly to the incidence of head and neck cancers. Treatment of this group of cancers can include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy or surgery.
Similarly, kidney cancers are becoming increasingly prevalent with recent statistics sighting it as the 12th most common cancer with 338,000 new cases annually, with researches projecting a 22 per cent increase by 2020. The most prevalent type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma, accounting for 90 per cent of cases. This steady rise in the incidence of kidney cancer is a global health risk and requires novel treatment options to reduce the growing incidence and burden. The disease is usually asymptomatic at the outset, and is only usually diagnosed when the disease has advanced. Again, risk factors are greatly influenced by lifestyle, including smoking, obesity and hypertension.
Dr Humaid Al Shamsi, consultant medical oncologist, president, Emirates Oncology Society (EOS) said: "There is an increasing prevalence of head and neck cancer and renal cell cancers within the UAE due to lifestyle choices, genetic factors and presence of the human papilloma virus (HPV). This group of cancers can have intense implications for patients who withdraw from society as head and neck cancer and renal cell cancers can reduce their ability to perform daily activities."
Results of a phase III trial discussed at the conference found significantly improved survival with immunotherapy compared with previous standard therapy. This has led to revolutionary new indications and a novel standard of care in head and neck cancer treatment. "Previous first line chemotherapy had a high toxicity profile for patients with head and neck cancer; however, these new immunotherapy indications will redefine survival expectations for the appropriate patient profile and have the potential to radically change clinical practice," explained Dr Al Shamsi.
Dr Falah Al Khatib, consultant medical oncologist, City Hospital, UAE explained the results of another study assessing the same immunotherapy in combination setting for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, which found benefits in overall survival, progression free survival and objective response rate compared with previous standard treatment. "This represents an innovative new treatment options for patients diagnosed with advanced renal cell carcinoma, who will now have access to this immunotherapy as part of first-line combination treatment." - email@example.com