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COLON CANCER TREATMENT

ANCHOR LEAD:  ONLY SOME PATIENTS WILL BENEFIT FROM TARGETED THERAPIES IN COLON CANCER, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

People with advanced colon cancer should only use certain drugs known as epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors, marketed as Erbitux or Vectibix, if they lack a mutation in a certain gene common in the disease.  Luiz Diaz, a colon cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, says such genetic testing benefits the patient.

DIAZ:  What’s important here is that you’re not subjecting patients to the toxicity of an agent if they will never benefit from it.  And it’s one of the first tests to really hit patients with solid tumors.  It’s going to be really be a factor not just in colon cancer but probably also in lung cancer, where we look for these KRAS mutations and then say, well look,  this class of medications might be beneficial, or if we don’t know this information it may be harmful.  So I think it really is the first step towards personalized pharmacogenetic information being used to dictate whether a patient gets a whole class of drugs or not.   :33

Diaz says this is just one of a growing number of genetic tests used in cancer management.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey


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