Expert Point of View: Anne Tsao, MD, and John Heymach, MD, PhD


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Anne Tsao, MD

Anne Tsao, MD

STUDY DISCUSSANT Anne Tsao, MD, Director of the Mesothelioma Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, indicated the response rates seen in the MAPS-2 trial are comparable to those demonstrated in smaller studies of pembrolizumab (Keytruda). She considered the preliminary survival results “impressive”: “Immune checkpoint inhibitors are likely to change our standard of care in malignant pleural mesothelioma,” Dr. Tsao predicted. 

John Heymach, MD, PhD, a lung cancer expert at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, called the findings “an important advance in a tumor type for which the only treatment has been pemetrexed [Alimta]/platinum.” He also noted that, unlike some tumors for which checkpoint inhibitors have worked very well, mesothelioma typically does not demonstrate a high mutation burden. Despite this, “the treatment clearly showed a significant degree of activity and benefit for a broad set of patients.” ■

DISCLOSURE: Dr. Tsao is on the advisory board for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Genentech, ARIAD, Merck, Seattle Genetics, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Roche, Novartis, EMD Serono, AstraZeneca, and Sellas Life Science and has received research grants from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Genentech, ARIAD, Merck, Seattle Genetics, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Millennium, and Polaris. Dr. Heymach has a consulting or advisory role with AbbVie, ARIAD, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Calithera Biosciences, Genentech, Medivation, Novartis, Oncomed, and Senta; has received institutional research funding from AstraZeneca; and has stock or other owner ownership interests in Bio-Tree and Cardinal Spine.


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