Historically, chemotherapy treatment has been driven by the type of tumor that it is directed towards. For example, small cell lung cancer would be treated with a specific chemotherapy regimen that would vary from that used to treat breast cancer. Similarly, the treatment for glioblastoma multiforme or aggressive brain cancer, would have a very different mix of drugs in its chemotherapy regimen.
In August 2015, The National Cancer Institute launched a new trial called the NCI-MATCH. This trial is presently a phase-2 clinical trial. The MATCH trial promises a new cancer treatment strategy. Rather than the previous approaches that were based on the type of tumor, the MATCH trial focuses on the the genetic changes found in the tumor. The treatment is driven by whether the cancer has a specific genetic change. The patient will receive a specific chemotherapy regimen regardless of where the cancer is located: the colon, rectal, breast, lung, brain, prostate, lymphoma, myeloma, etc.
The goal of the trial is to determine the percentage of patients achieving some shrinkage of tumor size. The goal is to achieve at least 16% shrinkage of the tumor. Results released from three groups in June 2018, seem to have positive outcomes. While there was no objective shrinkage in one group, 24% of the patients had stable disease at six months; this still shows promise for the drug. The second group had about 30% tumor shrinkage with 46% of patients with stable disease. In the last group, 10% of the patients had partial response.
Researchers are eagerly awaiting the final results of the NCI-MATCH trial, especially since it is the largest trial of its kind.
Rocky Mountain Brain & Spine Institute, while not a part of the MATCH trial, will continue to follow the results of this new cancer treatment strategy. We hope to be able to learn, and apply the results, to benefit the treatment of our patients.