One-of-a-Kind Trial Demonstrates Benefit of Precision Medicine in Cancer Patients

Using precision medicine, researchers were able to slow down the amount of time it takes for a tumor to grow back in patients with advanced cancer.

For the first time, a clinical trial has shown that precision medicine can slow down the regrowth of tumors for certain types of advanced cancer.

The trial consisted of patients with types of advanced cancer, including cancers of the breast, bladder, bowel, head and neck, lung, prostate, and stomach, who had no other treatment options left, and who had already tried 3 or more cancer therapies.

The results of the study revealed that 199 out of 1110 advanced cancer patients, who had their genes mapped and their treatment tailored, experienced about 30% longer duration before their cancer started to grow again, compared with any of the previous therapies the patients underwent. The time period ranged from 5 to 32 months.

For 411 of the patients, researchers found potentially faulty molecules to target, and experimental drugs hit the targets for 199 of these patients.

“This is the first precision medicine trial to show that analyzing a person’s DNA improves treatment options for patients with late stage cancer,” said principal trial investigator Jean Charles Soria. “And these results are particularly exciting because in some cases we were testing experimental drugs, and found that we could slow down the growth of tumors in around 1 in 5 patients with advanced cancer.”

The trial’s findings were presented at the Molecular Analysis for Personalized Therapy (MAP) conference.

“This is an exciting time for precision medicine and personalized treatment. It’s fantastic to see contributed effort going into this area and it’s important that we make the most of the data that we already have,” said Rowena Sharpe, head of precision medicine at Cancer Research UK. “The MAP meeting brings together expertise from across the globe to find the best ways to improve precision medicine programs for cancer patients.”