You are here

Results from SARC Immunotherapy Study Published in The Lancet Oncology


Results of a recent sarcoma immunotherapy clinical trial initiated by SARC (Sarcoma Alliance for Research Through Collaboration) have been published in The Lancet Oncology, the world-leading clinical oncology periodical publishing high-quality, peer-reviewed research, news, and commentary. For sarcoma patients and their families, the clinical trial results demonstrate the potential benefit of Pembrolizumab, a type of immunotherapy, in patients with undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma or dedifferentiated liposarcoma.

The phase 2 clinical trial was led by Hussein Tawbi, MD, PhD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and an expert in sarcoma. 
Of special significance is that this trial, known as SARC028, was the first multicenter, open label, phase 2 study of immunotherapy in patients with advanced soft-tissue sarcoma or bone sarcoma. The trial included patients with soft-tissue sarcoma or bone sarcoma from 12 academic centers that are members of the Sarcoma Alliance for Research Through Collaboration (SARC).
“This multi-institutional clinical study led by Dr. Tawbi provided an opportunity to explore the potential benefit of immunotherapy in sarcoma. The results of this single agent treatment are very encouraging and are being further explored in the expansion of the SARC028 trial,” said Denise Reinke, President and CEO of SARC.
According to Dr. Tawbi, the entire study is a testament to the collaborative efforts of SARC investigators, pharmaceutical companies, and philanthropic organizations, which allowed rapid accrual of patients and the collection of high-quality data and biospecimens. “The results of this study will lay the foundation for the future of immunotherapy in sarcoma,” said Dr. Tawbi.
The investigator-initiated trial was sponsored by SARC with support from Merck, Pittsburgh Cure Sarcoma, the QuadW Foundation, the Sarcoma Foundation of America, a donation in Memory of Darlene McGregor and SARC. The study investigators along with SARC wish to thank the patients and their families, and participating study teams.
What is Sarcoma?
Sarcomas are cancers of the bony skeleton (the skull, vertebrae, ribs, and extremities), and also the muscle and other tissues attached to, supporting, or joining those bones. Sarcomas can occur in people of all ages – newborns, infants, children, young adults and mature adults. Although there are many different types of sarcomas, it is still a very rare disease. Therefore, few physicians have experience in dealing with sarcomas, so it is not uncommon for it to be difficult to arrive at a diagnosis of sarcoma. This fact is simply a reflection of the rarity of this cancer. SARC and our collaborators are working to advance the science and knowledge of sarcomas.