Researchers Advocate Early Immunotherapy for Cervical Cancer

Researchers advocate early immunotherapy for cervical cancer, a new study suggests. Immunotherapy may be more effective and better tolerated than chemotherapy and radiation therapy, especially when used in the early stages of the disease.


Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women in low and middle-income countries, and it is usually caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Despite the availability of HPV vaccines, many women still develop cervical cancer and need treatment.

Immunotherapy for cervical cancer

Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that harnesses the power of the immune system to help eradicate cancer cells. It has a different side effect profile to traditional chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and may be better tolerated by some patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved immunotherapy pembrolizumab in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy for treatment of locally advanced cervical cancer. Novel therapeutic approaches for cervical cancer include combinations of immunotherapy and targeted agents, such as bevacizumab.

Benefits of early immunotherapy

A research paper published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology noted that immunotherapy may be most effective when used earlier in the treatment course. In locally advanced cervical cancer, adding immunotherapy to chemoradiation has been shown to provide additional benefit and the hope is that more patients might be cured with such an approach .

This has been shown both in recurrent, metastatic disease, when immunotherapy is combined with chemotherapy, as well as in primary setting for treatment of locally advanced disease, the researchers said. Studies are ongoing to identify patients most likely to benefit from immunotherapy.

Prevention of cervical cancer

The researchers also emphasized the importance of HPV vaccination to prevent cervical cancer. Multiple studies have shown that the HPV vaccination is safe, effective and should be given before infection with HPV has occurred. \”Therefore, we need to improve the uptake of HPV vaccinations to completely eradicate cervical cancer, likely it has already been done successfully in some countries,\” they added .


Immunotherapy may be a promising treatment option for cervical cancer, especially when used early in the course of the disease. It may offer more benefits and fewer side effects than chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, HPV vaccination remains the most important tool to help prevent this disease.

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