Ripretinib is currently in clinical development for the treatment of advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST). GIST is a rare type of cancer that commonly develops in the gastrointestinal tract. The cause of GIST is unknown but the majority of cases are associated with a certain gene mutations that produce abnormal enzymes. GIST are very aggressive, can spread quickly to other parts of the body (metastatic) and are not easily removed surgically (unresectable). There are currently no approved therapies for patients with GIST who have exhausted treatment options with approved first, second, and third-line agents.
Ripretinib is a drug specifically designed to stop the abnormal and overactive enzymes in GIST cells from working, including forms that cannot be blocked by other medicines. Stopping these enzymes is expected to slow down the growth of the tumours and reduce symptoms of the disease. If licensed, ripretinib will offer a fourth-line treatment option for patients with unresectable or metastatic GIST who have exhausted all other approved treatment options.
Pembrolizumab is an immunomodulatory medicinal product, meaning that it helps the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. It is administered by intravenous infusion and is currently licensed in the UK for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and urothelial cancer – amongst others. If licensed, pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, would offer an alternative treatment for those with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.