Since last year’s ASCO 30,000 members conference, cancer immunotherapy is coming of age and realigning to what integrative and holistic oncology have argued for centuries. The key to cancer reversals is to be found in the mammalian innate immune system. In a recent March 2015 online publication, (see reference below) the clinical records were reviewed of 125 osteosarcoma patients with a mean follow‑up of 5.1±3.9 years (range, 0.5‑19.8 years), and a review of the literature was also carried out. Chronic localized infections (but not systemic infection) were determined in 6 patients (4.8%). Similar chemotherapeutic regimens (P=1.00) and histological reactions (P=0.65) were observed in patients with or without infection. Tumor location of proximal tibia (P=0.04) was more common in infected patients. Additional amputations (P<0.001) were necessitated in infected patients due to uncontrolled infection.
However, the key element is that the 5‑year overall survival rate and event‑free survival rate in infected patients were 100%, that which is significantly higher than that of the non‑infected patients, of whom the rates were 54 and 43% respectively (log‑rank test: total survival, P=0.01; tumor‑free survival, P=0.01).Distant metastasis was an independent risk factor for survival determined by Cox regression analysis (P<0.001, 95 confidence interval, 1.59‑3.98).
These findings suggest that infection is likely to have positive effects on survival in osteosarcoma patients. One of the key clinical challenges is to control the infection holistically, so that it is not so serious as to warrant amputation or death, yet significant enough to kick in the innate immune system so that it does its job of eradicating these defective cancerous cells.