Researchers from the Moffitt Cancer Center are collaborating with the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium and have advanced a process to assess mutated genes in lung adenocarcinoma to aid in better selection of personalized treatment options to address patients. Adenocarcinoma is a common type of lung cancer, with almost 130,000 people being diagnosed every year with the disease in the United States alone.
This study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and evaluated 10 mutated or altered genes that have roles in cancer progression, the so-called “oncogenic driver” genes. The project evaluated over 1,000 lung cancer patients. Those with adenocarcinoma have a higher probability of carrying mutated oncogenic driver genes in their tumors.
More oncogenic drivers are constantly being identified, which makes the testing process longer and less efficient since more genes are needed to assess in otherwise very limited amounts of tumor tissue. Scientists have developed a way of evaluating multiple genes at the same time with very small amounts of tissue taken from the patient. About 64 percent of lung adenocarcinoma patients had a minimum of 1 oncogenic driver gene, they found.
Therapies were offered to those who had mutations in order to target the specific mutation. Researchers verified that the patients who had received targeted treatment against the oncogenic driver gene they carried survived for a longer period in comparison to those patients who did not receive the therapy.
“Precision medicine is the future of cancer care. We are continuing this study by attempting to profile all advanced lung adenocarcinoma patients for driver genes to match them with appropriate therapies. We’d like to extend this further to examine for driver genes in other types of lung cancer, such as squamous cell lung cancer,” explained Eric B. Haura who is the Moffitt’s Lung Cancer Center of Excellence director.
The team is also planning to use this same technology to evaluate drug resistance, and additional platforms to assist clinical decision-making are being created as well.
The Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium trial started in 2009 and has now tested many patients, making the study the first of its kind when it comes to simultaneous evaluation of genetic mutations to better deliver personalized medicine.