Precision Medicine Beneficial for Patients with Cancer

Precision medicine found to be associated with increased tumor reduction and progression-free survival.

In a recent meta-analysis, researchers discovered that patients who received treatment based on molecular characteristics of their tumor, known as precision medicine, have better outcomes.

The meta-analysis included 346 phase 1 clinical trials and over 13,000 patients, according to a study that will be presented at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting. Researchers analyzed efficacy and safety data from 58 trial cohorts treated with precision medicine, which uses biomarkers to select patients for treatment, and 293 trial cohorts that did not use precision medicine.

Researchers found that in cohorts using precision medicine, tumor shrinkage rates were 30.6%, compared with 4.9% in cohorts not using precision medicine. Patients in precision medicine cohorts also had progression-free survival increase by 5.7 months compared with 2.95 months for patients not receiving precision medicine.

In a sub-analysis of 57 trials that used targeted therapies, researchers found that patients who were assigned treatments because of biomarkers showed tumor shrinkage rates of 31.1% compared with 5.1% in groups that did not receive biomarker-based treatment, according to the study.

Researchers also discovered that assigning treatments to patients based on DNA biomarkers had a tumor shrinkage rate of 42% compared with 22.4% tumor shrinkage rate with protein biomarkers.

“Our study suggests that, with a precision medicine approach, we can use a patient’s individual tumor biomarkers to determine whether they are likely to benefit from a particular therapy, even when that therapy is at the earliest stage of clinical development,” said lead study author Maria Schwaederle, PharmD. “This strategy often results in good outcomes for patients, and I hope it will encourage and reassure doctors and patients considering enrollment in precision medicine-based phase I trials.”