There are various approaches to immunotherapy administration. Immunotherapy seems to work better for some cancers than others. Or perhaps they will all respond to immunotherapy but we just haven’t identified the specific characteristics of some cancers that can be exploited by a corresponding immunotherapeutic agent yet. In some cases, an immunotherapy is used alone. In others situations, immunotherapy is combined with other treatment modalities, such as traditional chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, for a better response. There are even some agents that combine immunotherapy effects and a radioactive or cytotoxic agent within one drug to target the cancer cells and deliver a higher concentration of the radioactive or cytotoxic agent to the cancer cells than would be otherwise possible, without adversely affecting the normal cells of the body. In some cases, more than one immunotherapy agent, each targeting a different cell characteristic, may be used but these combinations may also produce unacceptable side effects.
Adjuvant Therapy: Adjuvant therapy is the term used for intervention that is administered after a cancerous tumor is surgically removed. The goal of adjuvant therapy is to kill any residual, undetectable malignant cells that may remain after surgery. Adjuvant therapy also refers to interventions administered after radiation therapy.
Neoadjuvant Therapy: Neoadjuvant therapy is the intervention utilized prior to the planned primary treatment. While the primary treatment may be surgical removal of the tumor or radiation, neoadjuvant therapy may be used to shrink the tumor, increasing the chances for complete removal, or to sensitize the tumor to the effects of radiation, making radiation therapy more effective. Additionally, neoadjuvant intervention may kill small areas of malignant cells that may be undetectable by x‐rays or scans.