Caris Life Sciences, a biosciences company focused on personalized medicine, has announced data from two studies which demonstrate the potential of evidence-guided tumor profiling to immediately improve the treatment of patients with hard-to-treat cancers, including cancers of unknown primary (CUP) and rarer and refractory cancers.
The study, Biotheranostic profiling of CUP: paradigm shift in the management of CUP, shows that tumor profiling can positively influence patient outcomes where the primary site of the patient's tumor is unknown by providing oncologists with critical new information to help them select optimal treatment.
Using different methods to assess the biomarkers associated with the potential for drug response, the researchers were able to find targets for which there are existing cancer drugs in 77% of the tumors profiled.
Dr. Zoran Gatalica, M.D., DSc, executive medical director, Caris Life Sciences, and an adjunct professor of pathology, Creighton University School of Medicine, reported that his team's research has shown that investigating the biology of a CUP patient's tumor is an effective way of developing an actionable treatment plan for most patients.
"Previous attempts to characterize CUP have only managed to provide a statistical likelihood of a potential primary organ site, and for the most part have not addressed the question of which treatments are likely to be effective,” said Gatalica. “We set out to do just that in a large group of over 1,350 CUP patients. This is the largest group to date to have their tumor biomarker profiles characterized."
Gatalica said, "We believe that our research, based on the Caris Molecular Intelligence service, signals a paradigm shift in the treatment of CUP. With this strategy, physicians can build a treatment plan based on changes in cancer cells which are known to be associated with the potential for benefit from specific drugs."
Cancer Research U.K. estimates that CUP accounted for 3% of all cancer cases and 7% of all cancer deaths in the U.K. in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
"A CUP diagnosis is challenging for patient and clinician, and a search for the primary site to define treatment options is often distressing and fruitless. Using predictive biomarker information directly from the tumor offers doctors insights into the best treatment options for CUP patients," said John Symons, director of the CUP Foundation.
As recent advances in translational medicine and cancer molecular profiling have shown, different cancers may share the same molecular pathways, which provides the biological basis for using the same targeted therapy in different cancer types, irrespective of primary site.