Research in anal cancer

We are always learning more about cancer. Researchers and healthcare professionals use what they learn from research studies to develop better ways to treat anal cancer. The following is a selection of research showing promise for treating anal cancer.

We’ve included information from the following sources. Each item has an identity number that links to a brief overview (abstract).

  • PubMed, US National Library of Medicine (PMID)
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
  • Canadian Cancer Trials and (NCT)


Immunotherapy helps strengthen or restore the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. Researchers are looking at immunotherapy drugs to find out if they can treat anal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (advanced or metastatic anal cancer) or anal cancer that has not responded to previous treatment (refractory anal cancer). Some immunotherapy drugs that are showing promise in treating anal cancer include:

Researchers are also studying giving nivolumab after chemoradiation to see how well it works in treating stage 2, 3A or 3B anal cancer that has a high risk of coming back (recurring) (Canadian Cancer Trials, NCT 03233711).

Learn more about cancer research

Researchers continue to try to find out more about anal cancer. Clinical trials are research studies that test new ways to treat anal cancer. They also look at ways to prevent, find and manage cancer.

Clinical trials provide information about the safety and effectiveness of new approaches to see if they should become widely available. Most of the standard treatments for anal cancer were first shown to be effective through clinical trials.

Find out more about clinical trials.