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Dr Sunil Verma on Advancements in Cholangiocarcinoma Standards of Care

Video

Sunil Verma, MD, senior vice president and global head of oncology, medical, at AstraZeneca, talks about advancements in standards of care for uncommon cancers, including cholangiocarcinoma.

Sunil Verma, MD, senior vice president and global head of oncology, medical, at AstraZeneca, talks about advancements in standards of care for uncommon cancers, including cholangiocarcinoma.

TOPAZ-1 results were initially presented at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium and discussed during the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation 2022 meeting held February 23-25 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and virtually.

Transcript

Why has it taken more than a decade to see major advancements in the standard of care in biliary duct cancer? Do you anticipate rapid uptake of the combination durvalumab plus a chemotherapy regimen of gemcitabine and cisplatin?

It's difficult to do trials for patients who have, what I would term, uncommon cancers. Biliary duct cancer is a type of cancer that is maybe in the forgotten category, where it doesn't get the same spotlight and limelight that some of the other cancers would get. As a result, the clinical trial infrastructure is not designed to offer clinical studies to our patients suffering from this disease. So I think this is a huge achievement, and kudos to the clinicians and investigators and everyone involved to really help those patients with cholangiocarcinoma so we can see these events.

Similar things have happened. I'm thinking back 20 years ago in lung cancer where clinical trials were not being done for lung cancer patients—they were the forgotten cancer patients. But when you start to see the development and advances, and it opens up even more studies being done, even more trials being done, I hope that will be the same for patients with biliary duct cancer, and this is the start of a momentum to build on even more advances in the future. I'm really proud of what the team has done to conduct such a trial [TOPAZ-1], and I just hope that our work continues on as AstraZeneca and other pharma companies and other investigators and partners also then invest for these patients where the outcome remains poor. We have shifted that outcome where patients are now living longer, and we hope to continue to build on that.

The advances that are being seen in patients with liver cancer show our commitment for the organization, for GI [gastrointestinal] cancers. We continue to draw more trials and more studies because the outcome remains poor for many patients with GI cancers—gastric, liver, colorectal—and we are committed to doing more so more patients live longer and hopefully better.

Transcript edited for clarity.

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