In some patients, treatment based on molecular profile can increase progression-free survival

-- Lindsey Marcellin

Thursday, October 7, 2010 (Last Updated: 10/08/2010)

THURSDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Some patients with refractory cancers may achieve a reasonable period of progression-free survival (PFS) if treatment based on tumor molecular profiling (MP) is initiated, according to research published online Oct. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Daniel D. Von Hoff, M.D., of the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz., and colleagues conducted a study of 86 patients with refractory metastatic cancer, using tumor tissue samples to determine their molecular profile. The purpose of the study was to determine whether cancer treatment targets identified with MP techniques might lead to targeted treatments which would increase the patients' PFS beyond the length of time that previous treatments had been effective -- in essence, using the patients as their own controls.

Molecular targets were detected in 84 of the 86 patients; 66 of these were treated according to MP results. The researchers determined PFS ratios (PFS on the MP therapy/PFS on the prior therapy), with a result of 1.3 or higher considered to be of clinical benefit. Using these ratios, 27 percent of the 66 patients had clinical benefit from the MP-directed therapy.

"Future investigators of new cancer therapies should learn from this initial effort and focus on how these rapidly evolving molecular tools can be used in the development of an entirely new investigative model for the systemic treatment of cancer," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

Several study authors disclosed financial relationships with Caris Life Sciences and other entities providing MP services.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology

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