Targeted Therapies Improve Overall Survival for Patients With Colorectal Cancer Subtype
The cancer landscape has changed for patients with the introduction of targeted therapies, and a combination targeted therapy for some patients with colorectal cancer shows new promise.
BY Scot Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D., FACP
PUBLISHED January 28, 2020
Patients with BRAF V600E-mutant colorectal cancer have a very poor prognosis compared to other subtypes of colorectal cancer, but updated results from a three-arm phase 3 study showed promise for the targeted combination therapy of the BRAF and EGFR inhibitors Braftovi (encorafenib) and Erbitux (cetuximab), with or without Mektovi (binimetinib), according to Dr. Scott Kopetz.
Targeted therapies have changed the landscape for many different cancer types and being able to target a subtype like BRAF V600E-mutant colorectal cancer opens pathways that patients may not have had before, as the study showed an improved overall survival period of nine months.
Kopetz, a gastrointestinal oncologist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, had the chance to sit down with CURE for an interview at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium and discuss how a targeted therapy for this patient population is beneficial to their overall treatment.
The data is really looking at, how to optimally treat these patients. We know that patients with a BRAF V600E mutation really should be treated in a different manner than others. This is really showing that aggressive chemotherapy may be effective initially, but the duration of benefit from standard cytotoxic chemotherapy is less than what we see in others.
So, really thinking about how you address targeting the BRAF mutation itself becomes a key part of that. I think importantly, when we think about the this population, as a very distinct entity, as it is both at a biologic level — precursors lesions the polyps for patients with these tumors are very different than the pathways that are activated, carcinogenic pathways are different, and as mentioned, the clinical outcomes are very different for these patients. And those are the reasons that we really think about this as a distinct subgroup of colorectal cancer.