Scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have found that customizing targeted therapies to each tumor's molecular characteristics, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach by tumor type, may be more effective for some types of cancer.
Marking the largest scale on which this approach has been examined to date, the study analyzed the results of matching targeted therapies with specific gene mutations in patients.
The data indicated that this strategy was associated with higher rates of response, survival and failure-free survival than observed in non-matched patients.
"This preliminary study strongly suggests that molecular analysis is needed to use the right drug for the right patient," said Apostolia-Maria Tsimberidou, the study's principal investigator.
"Up to this point, we have treated tumor types, but this study shows we cannot treat all patients with a tumor type the same way. We need to take into consideration a number of factors, and this study suggests that a personalized approach is needed to improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer," said Tsimberidou.
In the initial analysis, Tsimberidou analyzed 1,144 patients with metastatic or inoperable cancer underwent testing for molecular aberrations at MD Anderson. Of these patients, 460 had one or more gene aberration.
Outcomes of patients with gene aberrations treated with matched therapy were compared with those patients with gene aberrations who were not treated with matched therapy.
For the 175 patients with one aberration, the response rate was 27 percent with matched targeted therapy. The response rate was 5 percent in 116 patients when treated with non-matched therapy.
Patients who received matched targeted therapy had median survival of 13.4 months, while median survival for patients treated with unmatched targeted therapy was nine months.
Median failure-free survival in patients who received matched targeted therapy was 5.2 months, compared to 2.2 months for patients who received unmatched targeted therapy.
These findings were presented on the opening press program of the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. (ANI)