CHICAGO, IL (May 28, 2013)Nearly two-thirds of solid tumors carry at least one mutation that may be targeted, or medicated, by an existing compound, according to new findings from researchers Fox Chase Cancer Center that will be presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on June 3. The results suggest that it may one day become commonplace for doctors to sequence tumors before deciding on a treatment regimen.
"Extended sequencing of a patient's tumor is not something that's routinely done now," says study author Patrick Boland, MD, a hematology/oncology fellow at Fox Chase. "Our ultimate hope is that, if we determine testing is worthwhile, it becomes routine for a doctor to send off a tumor sample to look for mutations before deciding on a course of treatment."
In some forms of cancer, such as lung cancer, doctors do check for a limited number of mutations. Mutations found with this focused testing only affect the treatment of a small proportion of patients. However, most tumors likely have many mutations, some of which may be targeted specifically by drugs already on the market, or under development.
To investigate, 77 patients with solid tumorsprimarily inflammatory breast cancer and colon cancer underwent genetic profiling looking for nearly 200 mutations associated with cancer. Boland and his co-author Alan Skarbnik reviewed the DNA sequencing to analyze the net results of testing and consider the potential impact on patient care.
Most of the patients96%carried one mutation or more. Nearly two-thirds had at least one mutation the researchers termed "actionable," meaning it is targeted by a drug that is on the market or in development. Many of the mutations were amplifications, in which multiple copies of a single gene were present, which ramps up its effect on the body.
Boland stresses that even though these genetic alterations are present, in many cases it's not clear wh
|Contact: Diana Quattrone|
Fox Chase Cancer Center