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RAS MUTATIONS

GENE ANALYSIS MUST BE VERY SPECIFIC TO BE HELPFUL, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Some people with colorectal cancer benefit from a monoclonal antibody drug called cetuximab, but those with genetic changes known as ras mutations do not.  Now a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that a subset of ras mutations do respond.  William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains.

NELSON: So what that means is that all ras mutations are not created equal.  Some of them are associated with a lack of a benefit to cetuximab.  This particular one is not, suggests  that if you’re going to test for ras gene mutations you’re going to have to test for the specific mutation and have some sense for which of them contain which information, which should suggest to use cetuximab, or suggest to not use it.  This is an example of the ever-progressing art of personalized medicine.   :27

So genetic analysis must be carefully done and interpreted.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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