What is the Success Rate of Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is helping improve outcomes for people with several types of cancer that typically have a poor diagnosis including advanced bladder, kidney, and lung cancers.
The average response rate of cancer patients to immunotherapy drugs is between 20 to 50%. The response rate depends on the type of cancer being treated. However, oncologists believe that durable responses could increase as immunotherapy research advances, and researchers gain new insights into how the immune system and cancer cells interact.
Cancer signals a breakdown in the immune system, which means the immune cells cannot defend against invaders. Immuno-oncology boosts the efficiency of the immune system, allowing it to fight the growing cancer cells.
A study conducted by UCLA researchers involving patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) found that the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab increased the average 5-year survival rate of these patients from 5.5% to 15%.
While immunotherapy is not beneficial for all types of cancers, the success achieved indicates that it does have a positive impact on cancer patients and saves lives.
Immunotherapy clinical trials are ongoing. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center are conducting studies into novel immunotherapies known as anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L-1. These therapies have the potential to increase both clinical responses and survival rates.