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Precision medicine demonstrates benefit in late-stage cancer trial

A clinical trial carried out in a diverse set of advanced cancers is the first to demonstrate that use of precision medicine can slow down tumor regrowth.


The trial was carried out at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus (Paris, France) and these results were presented recently at the Molecular Analysis for Personalised Therapy Conference (held 23–24 September, London, UK).

In total, 1110 patients with advanced cancer who had received three or more previous therapies were involved in the trial. After mapping the genes within their individual malignancies, potentially targetable faulty molecules were identified in 411 of these patients and experimental drugs to hit the targets were identified for 199 individuals.

These 199 patients who received tailored therapy for their disease were associated with approximately a 30% longer time period before their tumors started to grow again compared with the previous therapies they had received.

The patients on this trial had diverse types of advanced cancer including lung, breast, head and neck, prostate, bladder, bowel and stomach cancer.

Commenting on these results, principal investigator Jean Charles Soria (Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus) explained: “This is the first precision medicine trial to show that analyzing a person’s DNA improves treatment options for patients with late-stage cancer. 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 one in five patients with advanced cancer.”

Christophe Massard, also of Gustave Roussy, commented on the potential impact of these results: “The great thing about this is that it’s not just for one type of cancer – patients with many different types of cancer could benefit from this in the future.”