The goal of this issue is to capture the current state of the art in immunotherapy of prostate cancer. We live in a time when immunotherapy is making major contributions to the treatment of many malignancies. The Nobel Prize was recently awarded for the discovery of heckpoint inhibitors that have revolutionized the treatment of melanoma. Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) cell therapy represents a major advance in the treatment of B-cell lymphoma.
Unfortunately, immunotherapy has not yet had such a dramatic impact on prostate cancer treatment. The Provenge (sipuleucel-T) vaccine has been approved for prostate cancer treatment because it results in a modest improvement in the survival of patients with advanced disease. The checkpoint inhibitors have not shown useful activity in prostate cancer, although a small group of patients have had dramatic responses. The current situation may be best summarized by saying that immune response to prostate cancer can be demonstrated in patients, but various factors appear to limit cancer cell kill. In this issue, we feature conversations with investigators who are doing interesting research on how to overcome factors limiting the effectiveness of immunotherapy in prostate cancer.
Dr. Charles G Drake talks about the state of immunotherapy in 2018 and looks ahead to what we can expect to happen in 2019.
Dr. James Gulley talks about why the initial trials with the prostate cancer vaccine ProstVac didn’t prove as promising as we’d all hoped. He also utlines a number of prostate cancer vaccine clinical trials looking for patients.
Dr. Julie Graff discusses clinical trials—both completed and those looking for patients—that combine Keytruda and Xtandi.
Dr. Fatima Karzai tells us about clinical trials at the National Institute of Health that combine PARP and PD-L1 Inhibitors.
Dr. Bruce Brown, Chief Medical Officer of Dendreon, discusses a clinical trial that looks at using sipuleucel-T in men on active surveillance. Each conversation this month includes information on clinical trials that are recruiting prostate cancer patients. If you think you may be a fit, please don’t hesitate to contact the investigator.
Charles E. Myers, Jr., MD