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A multi-disciplinary clinical trial and research project investigating new immunotherapy drug opportunities in oesophageal cancer.

Phase 1/2 Study of anti-PD-L1 in Combination with Chemo(radio)therapy for Oesophageal Cancer

A phase 1 / 2 clinical trial testing the safety of immunotherapy drug durvalumab, with or without tremelimumab, in combination chemoradiotherapy in Oesophageal cancer. These immunotherapy drugs have been applied in melanoma and some other cancers in the past, but are now being tested in first line oesophageal cancer.

Treatment for oesophageal cancer depends on where the cancer is and whether it has spread. You might have:

  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy together with radiotherapy (chemoradiotherapy)
  • surgery to remove all or part of the food pipe (oesophagus)

In this trial, doctors are looking at 2 new drugs called durvalumab (MEDI4736) and tremelimumab. Both drugs seek out cancer cells by looking for proteins on the surface of the cancer cells and blocking them so that the immune system recognises them and kills them. Durvalumab and tremelimumab seek out 2 different proteins.

Researchers think that durvalumab and tremelimumab may help your immune system attack the cancer and stop them from growing.

Multiple research projects are coming from this clinical trial, which are investigating two lines of enquiry:

  • is it possible to predict which oesophageal cancer patients are going to benefit from immunotherapy and why?
  • how could immunotherapy be augmented to help patients who might not have otherwise benefitted? 

Throughout the trial, the team have used a variety of cutting-edge sequencing technologies to analyse blood and tumour tissue, in the hope of identifying key molecular changes that can be used to identify which future patients will and will not benefit from these new, potentially curative treatments.

By finding predictors of positive responses to immunotherapy, the team hope to implement novel diagnostic tests to make sure patients are getting the best treatment option for their specific cancer and aren’t going through side-effects for a therapy from which they may not benefit.