Improved results for cancer with personalised medicine

7 June 2016

Meta-analysis of over three hundred clinical trials published by the University of California San Diego indicates that cancer patients enjoy better outcomes when treated with a personalised medicine approach.

By analysing the response rate (RR) and progression free survival (PFS) rate of 346 different cancer trials – totalling over 13,000 patie nts – researchers from UC San Diego found that those which employed a personalised medicine approach had a higher median RR and PFS rate than those that did not.

The study looked specifica lly at phase I clinical trials, those designed to ensure new cancer drugs are safe to use on humans. Those that matched the teams’ criteria were divided, based upon whether they used biomarker-based personalisation or not. Of the total 351 testing arms 117 were testing a cytotoxic agent, whilst the remaining 234 arms tested a targeted agent.

When analysing their data, the team saw an improved median RR of 31% when the study employed a biomarker-based treatment strategy, but an RR of only 5% when a non-personalised strategy was used. They also found evidence that targeted drugs only resulted in improved outcomes when used as part of a personalised approach. Out of the 45 studies which reported a PFS rate, the seven studies which were personalised had a higher median PFS of 5.7 instead of 2.95 when not personalised.

The authors concluded that there is evidence that a biomarker-based, personalised approach to cancer treatment results in improved outcomes for patients.