Precision oncology trounces traditional tumor treatment in major meta-analysis

After conducting a meta-analysis of 346 phase I clinical trials involving more than 13,000 cancer patients, researchers have found that outcomes are significantly better when treatment targets the molecular characteristics of the individual tumor than when older, anatomic site-based approaches are used.

Which is another way to say that precision medicine soundly defeated traditional tumor treatment.

Members of the research team summarized their findings in a press briefing May 18 and will present their full study at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago the first week of June, according to an ASCO press release.

Maria Schwaederle, PharmD, of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy at UC-San Diego, and colleagues compared 58 treatment paths that employed precision medicine with 293 that did not.

The team found precision medicine approaches yielded average tumor shrinkage rates of 30.6 percent.

With the non-precision approaches, tumor shrinkage averaged just 4.9 percent.

At the same time, patients in precision medicine cohorts had longer progression-free survival compared to other cohorts (median 5.7 months vs. 2.95 months), according to the release.

“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,” Schwaederle said in prepared remarks.

“This strategy often results in good outcomes for patients,” she added, “and I hope it will encourage and reassure doctors and patients considering enrollment in precision medicine-based phase I trials.”

Click here to view a video of the briefing on YouTube and here to read the study abstract.