Search
What are you looking for?
Start main content

Press Releases

Press Releases

https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/a-cuhk-led-international-study-demonstrates-immune-checkpoint-inhibitor-is-effective-in-patients-with-advanced-nasopharyngeal-cancer
https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/a-cuhk-led-international-study-demonstrates-immune-checkpoint-inhibitor-is-effective-in-patients-with-advanced-nasopharyngeal-cancer

A CUHK-led International Study Demonstrates Immune-checkpoint Inhibitor Is Effective in Patients with Advanced Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) led an international study funded by the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, with the Mayo Clinic Phase 2 Consortium of the United States. The study demonstrated the anti-tumour activity of the immune-checkpoint inhibitor in recurrent and metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) patients. Results show the 1-year overall survival rate was around 60%. Further analysis facilitates the identification of biomarkers and the development of immunotherapy in NPC patients. The findings of this landmark study have been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

 

NPC is endemic to Hong Kong, Southern China and other parts of Southeast Asia. According to the Hong Kong Cancer Registry, NPC was the 6th most common cancer for men and the 10th most common cancer for both sexes in 2015.

 

NPC is characterized by the infection of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It is one of the most aggressive head and neck cancers and frequently metastasizes to distant lymph nodes and organs. Conventional treatments of NPC are radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

 

Immunotherapy as a new treatment option for NPC patients

In recent years, cancer immunology has become a rapidly advancing field. The field has produced a new method of treating cancers, known as immunotherapy, that augments a patient’s own immune response against tumours.

 

NCI, the US government’s principal agency for cancer studies as well as the largest funder of cancer research in the world, has been supporting research that advances the outcomes of cancer immunotherapy. In order to evaluate the antitumour activity of the immune-checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab, in patients with recurrent or metastatic NPC, NCI has supported an international, multicentre study of the Mayo Clinic Phase 2 Consortium led by CUHK medical professors.

 

Study shows median overall survival as 17 months since the treatment

A total of 44 patients with recurrent and metastatic NPC from 11 international sites were recruited from 2015 to 2016, with the majority being Asians. The overall response rate was 20%, with one patient’s cancer going into complete clinical remission for around one year. The overall survival rate of 60% at 1 year compares favourably with historic data from similar patients who received other therapies for metastatic NPC, where the overall survival rate at 1 year is usually less than 50%.

 

Professor Brigette Buig Yue MA of the Department of Clinical Oncology at the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK is an executive member of the NCI Head and Neck Cancer Steering Committee - Clinical Trials Planning Group on Nasopharyngeal Cancer, and Co-chair of the Widely Metastatic Group. She explained, “The majority of patients with recurrent and metastatic NPC are not amenable to curative treatment, where the therapeutic option is largely limited to palliative chemotherapy. Our study findings reveal that the immune-checkpoint inhibitor has clinically meaningful and durable activity in some patients with NPC, the treatment was well tolerated and seemed to have fewer serious side effects than chemotherapy.” Professor Ma highlighted that, “It was an honour to work with this excellent team of investigators who have worked tirelessly to complete this study in record time.”

 

Patients with better treatment outcomes are associated with specific biomarkers

In 2017, researchers of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK unravelled the whole genome of NPC which enables the discovery of novel and key targets and biomarkers of this common type of head and neck cancer. In the current study, the research team also found that patients who responded to nivolumab or those with better progression-free survival may be related to the expression of biomarkers named PD-L1 and HLA proteins in their tumours.

 

Professor Kwok Wai LO of the Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology at the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK stated, “Validation in larger cohorts for the clinical utility of PD-L1 expression on response to nivolumab and the prognostic significance of HLA proteins expression in nivolumab-treated patients will be worked on. We hope by identifying the biomarkers in NPC patients, the prognosis assessment as well as the development of precision medicine could be facilitated, hence enhancing the treatment outcomes.”

 

Professor Anthony Tak Cheung CHAN, Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor of Clinical Oncology and Director of Sir YK Pao Centre for Cancer at the Hong Kong Cancer Institute at the Faculty of Medicine of CUHK added, “It is our honour to lead this international study funded by NCI and work with world-class experts, including those from Mayo Clinic. This is the first report in literature on the clinical activity and biomarker of response to nivolumab in recurrent and metastatic NPC. With the latest discovery, together with multiple clinical and translational studies we conducted in previous years, we have established advances for NPC treatments. We will continue to further our research efforts on the field of cancer immunotherapy and strive to extend the benefits of immunotherapy to more cancer patients.”     

 

Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK led an international study which demonstrates the anti-tumour activity of immunotherapy in recurrent and metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) patients. Results show the 1-year overall survival rate was around 60%. (From left) Professor Kwok Wai LO of the Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology; Professor Brigette MA of the Department of Clinical Oncology; NPC patient Mr CHAN (pseudo name) and Professor Anthony CHAN, Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK led an international study which demonstrates the anti-tumour activity of immunotherapy in recurrent and metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) patients. Results show the 1-year overall survival rate was around 60%. (From left) Professor Kwok Wai LO of the Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology; Professor Brigette MA of the Department of Clinical Oncology; NPC patient Mr CHAN (pseudo name) and Professor Anthony CHAN, Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor of Clinical Oncology.

Mr CHAN (pseudo name, right), an NPC patient, states that his physical condition and life quality were not seriously affected during immunotherapy, and there were fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Mr CHAN (pseudo name, right), an NPC patient, states that his physical condition and life quality were not seriously affected during immunotherapy, and there were fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Professor Brigette MA states that the study findings reveal immunotherapy has clinically meaningful and durable activity in some NPC patients.

Professor Brigette MA states that the study findings reveal immunotherapy has clinically meaningful and durable activity in some NPC patients.

Professor Anthony CHAN says that the CUHK Medicine research team is honoured to lead the international study funded by National Cancer Institute in the United States and work with world-class experts, including those from Mayo Clinic.

Professor Anthony CHAN says that the CUHK Medicine research team is honoured to lead the international study funded by National Cancer Institute in the United States and work with world-class experts, including those from Mayo Clinic.

Professor Kwok Wai LO (left) hopes that by identifying the biomarkers in NPC patients, the prognosis assessment as well as the development of precision medicine could be facilitated, hence enhancing the treatment outcomes for advanced NPC patients.

Professor Kwok Wai LO (left) hopes that by identifying the biomarkers in NPC patients, the prognosis assessment as well as the development of precision medicine could be facilitated, hence enhancing the treatment outcomes for advanced NPC patients.

More Press Releases

CUHK Unravels the Whole Genome of Nasopharyngeal Cancer A Great Leap Forward in Personalized Medicine Development

CUHK Unravels the Whole Genome of Nasopharyngeal Cancer A Great Leap Forward in Personalized Medicine Development

Research
CUHK to Commence the Next-Generation Clinical Trials of CAR-T Cell Therapy for Haematological Malignancy

CUHK to Commence the Next-Generation Clinical Trials of CAR-T Cell Therapy for Haematological Malignancy

Research
CUHK-led Global Study Sees Improvement in Overall Survival in Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer

CUHK-led Global Study Sees Improvement in Overall Survival in Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer

Research
CUHK in collaboration with West China School of Medicine co-Led World’s First-in-human Clinical Trial using CRISPR technology for lung cancer Confirmed gene-edited T-Cell Therapy is Safe and Feasible in Treatment of Advanced NSCLC

CUHK in collaboration with West China School of Medicine co-Led World’s First-in-human Clinical Trial using CRISPR technology for lung cancer Confirmed gene-edited T-Cell Therapy is Safe and Feasible in Treatment of Advanced NSCLC

Research
CUHK Receives an International Cancer Care Team Award Nominated by Patients

CUHK Receives an International Cancer Care Team Award Nominated by Patients

Awards and honors
CUHK Study Proves Ablative Chemoembolization Doubles the Progression-Free Survival for Liver Cancer Patients

CUHK Study Proves Ablative Chemoembolization Doubles the Progression-Free Survival for Liver Cancer Patients

Research
CUHK Research Receives Recognitions by Top Medical Journals

CUHK Research Receives Recognitions by Top Medical Journals

Awards and honors
CUHK Completes a 20,000-person Plasma DNA Screening Study of Nasopharyngeal Cancer, and Finds a Dramatic Shift to Early Stage Cancers

CUHK Completes a 20,000-person Plasma DNA Screening Study of Nasopharyngeal Cancer, and Finds a Dramatic Shift to Early Stage Cancers

Research
CUHK-led Research Confirms Novel Targeted Therapy Doubles the Effectiveness of Current Standard Treatment for ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

CUHK-led Research Confirms Novel Targeted Therapy Doubles the Effectiveness of Current Standard Treatment for ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

Research
CUHK Uncovers Novel Immune Escape Mechanism of Cancer Opening Up New Direction for Cancer Immunotherapy

CUHK Uncovers Novel Immune Escape Mechanism of Cancer Opening Up New Direction for Cancer Immunotherapy

Research
CUHK Opens Phase I Clinical Trial Centre To Step Up New Drug Development in Hong Kong

CUHK Opens Phase I Clinical Trial Centre To Step Up New Drug Development in Hong Kong

Research
CUHK Study Finds Half of Childhood Cancer Survivors Used Complementary and Alternative Medicine

CUHK Study Finds Half of Childhood Cancer Survivors Used Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Research
CUHK Uncovers How Immune Cells Turn Bad A New Hope for Kidney Patients

CUHK Uncovers How Immune Cells Turn Bad A New Hope for Kidney Patients

Research
Professor Tony Mok Recognised as a Giant of Cancer Care  for His Remarkable Contribution in Advancing Global Healthcare in Lung Cancer

Professor Tony Mok Recognised as a Giant of Cancer Care for His Remarkable Contribution in Advancing Global Healthcare in Lung Cancer

Awards and honors
Insights into B-cells and GPR18 Gene Expression by CU Medicine team  Improve Prediction of Survival in Multiple Cancer Types

Insights into B-cells and GPR18 Gene Expression by CU Medicine team Improve Prediction of Survival in Multiple Cancer Types

Research
CU Medicine Team Discovers a Novel Prognostic Biomarker for a Doubled Survival in Head and Neck Cancer

CU Medicine Team Discovers a Novel Prognostic Biomarker for a Doubled Survival in Head and Neck Cancer

Research
CUHK Successfully Conducts Asia-Pacific’s First Hybrid Operating Room Non-invasive Bronchoscopic Microwave Ablation to Treat Lung Cancer

CUHK Successfully Conducts Asia-Pacific’s First Hybrid Operating Room Non-invasive Bronchoscopic Microwave Ablation to Treat Lung Cancer

Surgical advancement
李嘉誠基金會啟動《愛能助》兒童癌症項目 資助兒童罕見癌症 (Chinese version only)

李嘉誠基金會啟動《愛能助》兒童癌症項目 資助兒童罕見癌症 (Chinese version only)

Donation
Professor Tony MOK Honoured with the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award Recognising His Global Leadership in Defining Lung Cancer Treatment Standard

Professor Tony MOK Honoured with the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award Recognising His Global Leadership in Defining Lung Cancer Treatment Standard

Awards and honors
CUHK Launches Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme Providing Free Screening to 10,000 HK Residents to Study Links with Obesity

CUHK Launches Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme Providing Free Screening to 10,000 HK Residents to Study Links with Obesity

Health Campaign
CUHK Study Sees Increasing Global Incidence of Colorectal Cancer Among Younger People

CUHK Study Sees Increasing Global Incidence of Colorectal Cancer Among Younger People

Research
CUHK Pioneers Early Lung Cancer Treatment with Hybrid Operating Room Image Guided Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy

CUHK Pioneers Early Lung Cancer Treatment with Hybrid Operating Room Image Guided Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy

Surgical advancement
CUHK-HKU Study on Multi-gene Mutation-Drug Matching for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients Providing Free Pharmacogenomic Analysis for 100 Patients in Hong Kong

CUHK-HKU Study on Multi-gene Mutation-Drug Matching for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients Providing Free Pharmacogenomic Analysis for 100 Patients in Hong Kong

Research
The 7th Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population: ‘Palliative Care in the Community’

The 7th Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population: ‘Palliative Care in the Community’

Symposium
CUHK Joint Research Sets a New Global Direction for Lung Cancer Treatment Molecular Targeted Therapy Proved more Effective in Treating Patients with ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

CUHK Joint Research Sets a New Global Direction for Lung Cancer Treatment Molecular Targeted Therapy Proved more Effective in Treating Patients with ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

Research
CUHK Succeeded in Animal Study and Clinical Case of Percutaneous Nanoknife New Breakthrough in Cancer Treatment

CUHK Succeeded in Animal Study and Clinical Case of Percutaneous Nanoknife New Breakthrough in Cancer Treatment

Research
CUHK Launches Territory-wide Screening Study for Early Detection of Nasopharynx Cancer Now Recruiting 20,000 Citizens to Join

CUHK Launches Territory-wide Screening Study for Early Detection of Nasopharynx Cancer Now Recruiting 20,000 Citizens to Join

Research
CUHK Discovers Innovative ‘Flow Diverters’ (Pipeline) as Effective Treatment for Cerebral Aneurysms in Asia’s First Clinical Study in Collaboration with Seven Medical Centres

CUHK Discovers Innovative ‘Flow Diverters’ (Pipeline) as Effective Treatment for Cerebral Aneurysms in Asia’s First Clinical Study in Collaboration with Seven Medical Centres

Research
CUHK and HKU Host the 5th Annual Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population

CUHK and HKU Host the 5th Annual Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population

Symposium
CUHK Pioneers Innovative Computer Assisted Tumor Surgery for Bone Cancer Patients

CUHK Pioneers Innovative Computer Assisted Tumor Surgery for Bone Cancer Patients

Surgical advancement
Bowel Cancer Will Become Top Cancer in Hong Kong CUHK Introduces Colon Pill Camera to Prevent Bowel Cancer

Bowel Cancer Will Become Top Cancer in Hong Kong CUHK Introduces Colon Pill Camera to Prevent Bowel Cancer

Surgical advancement
CUHK Proves a Non-invasive Technology Can Successfully Cure Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation

CUHK Proves a Non-invasive Technology Can Successfully Cure Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation

Clinical service
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Nethersole School of Nursing hosts the Fifth Pan-Pacific Nursing Conference and Seventh Nursing Symposium on Cancer Care

The Chinese University of Hong Kong Nethersole School of Nursing hosts the Fifth Pan-Pacific Nursing Conference and Seventh Nursing Symposium on Cancer Care

Symposium
Predicting Your Colorectal-polyp Risk with CUHK Colorectal-polyp Prediction Index (CU-CPI)

Predicting Your Colorectal-polyp Risk with CUHK Colorectal-polyp Prediction Index (CU-CPI)

Clinical service

Our Expert List

Many experts under the Faculty of Medicine are available for media interview.
Please click here for the expert list or contact us.