Episode 273: Updates in Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy

“It’s really an exciting time to be in the field of oncology because we can have these specific drugs that target these specific variants rather than, back in the day, when we had to use kind of generic cancer therapies that weren’t specific for an individual’s cancer,” ONS member Suzanne Walker, PhD, CRNP, AOCN®, senior advanced practice provider and coordinator for thoracic malignancies at the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA, told Jaime Weimer, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BS, AOCNS®, manager of oncology nursing practice at ONS, during a discussion about the latest updates in chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments. Walker is one of the editors of ONS’s second edition of the Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy Guidelines and Recommendations for Practice book. You can earn free NCPD contact hours after listening to this episode and completing the evaluation linked below.

Earn 0.75 contact hours of nursing continuing professional development (NCPD), which may be applied to the treatment ILNA category, by listening to the full recording and completing an evaluation at myoutcomes.ons.org by August 18, 2025. The planners and faculty for this episode have no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies to disclose. ONS is accredited as a provider of NCPD by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Learning outcome: The learner will report an increase in knowledge related to updates in chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Episode Notes

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Highlights From Today’s Episode

“We’ve seen significant improvement in cancer survival over the past one to two decades. And primarily we’ve seen this not only from reductions in smoking and earlier cancer detection, but advancements in some of our treatments, most notably in the realm of immunotherapy and targeted therapy.” Timestamp (TS) 02:07

“With the discovery of the biomarkers, it has brought around the discovery of genomic-driven therapies that are specific to these biomarkers. That’s really changed the landscape of oncology for people that have one of these driver variants.” TS 07:55

“I’ve definitely seen in my practice where therapy has been completed and, especially for some of these immunotherapy drugs, a couple of months later the patient develops a toxicity that is from the prior immunotherapy. Even chemotherapy can have some long-term toxicities, but we do have to even keep it in mind for immunotherapy that once these drugs are finished, there still could be some long-term side effects. Since they are newer drugs, we still are learning about what some of these long-term toxicities look like.” TS 26:56

“There haven’t been a ton of new FDA approvals specific for chemotherapy; however, we have seen chemotherapy still used in practice, particularly in combination with some of these novel therapies. Particularly, we see a lot of chemotherapy and immunotherapy combinations.” TS 27:47

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