National Cancer Institute-sponsored MATCH trial uses precision medicine as a potential option for late-stage adult cancer patients
Main Line Health is now enrolling patients in a groundbreaking national research trial that places precision medicine at the center of cancer treatment. The National Cancer Institute–Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH) trial is focused on delivering personalized treatment by matching each enrolled patient with drugs or drug combinations that target the specific genetic abnormalities found in that patient’s cancer. Main Line Health is among nearly 900 medical institutions nationwide—but one of only a few in the Philadelphia region—to be enrolling patients in this landmark study.
“The NCI-MATCH trial brings us one step closer to providing highly personalized, potentially life-saving cancer care to our patients,” says Albert DeNittis, MD, Chief of Radiation Oncology and Principal Investigator for the NCI Community Oncology Research Program at Lankenau Medical Center, part of Main Line Health. “Changes in tumor genes are believed to drive cancer growth. The findings from this trial will determine whether treating patients with drugs that target these specific changes will actually shrink the cancer, regardless of its location in the body. If effective, this approach will monumentally advance cancer care.”
The trial has been designed for patients 18 years old and older who have solid tumors or lymphomas that have progressed after standard systemic (oral or intravenous) therapy, as well as rare cancers for which there is no standard treatment. The study was co-developed by the NCI and the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, the member-based scientific organization conducting the study.
To be eligible for the NCI-MATCH trial, each patient’s tumor is analyzed to determine whether it contains genetic abnormalities for which a targeted drug exists. If there is a match, the patient is enrolled, and treatment is assigned based on the specific genetic abnormality. Trial investigators seek to determine whether treating cancers according to their molecular abnormalities will show evidence of effectiveness.
ECOG-ACRIN originally opened enrollment for the NCI-MATCH trial in August 2015, with 10 treatment options and a goal to screen 3,000 patients for possible enrollment. Enrollment was paused in November to allow for a planned scientific review, and as a result, several changes were made to ensure that even more patients will benefit. Included among those changes are an increase in the number of treatment options from 10 to 24, and an increase in the number of patients who will receive genetic screening from 3,000 to 5,000. It is estimated that approximately 23 percent of patients who are tested will match to an existing drug and be eligible to participate in the clinical trial. An additional change in the protocol now enables physicians to submit archived biopsy tissue samples for genetic testing, eliminating the need to obtain fresh tissue samples from patients. This can occur if the biopsies were obtained within six months prior to enrollment and patients have not received other targeted therapies since biopsy collection.
Main Line Health is enrolling patients at all four of its facilities: Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital. Enrollment began on June 24, with six Main Line Health patients enrolling in just the first week. ECOG-ACRIN has the laboratory capacity to enroll 100 patients nationally each week.
“Interest in the NCI-MATCH trial is already quite high,” says Paul Gilman, MD, System Division Chief of Hematology-Oncology at Main Line Health and Director of the Clinical Research Center at Lankenau. “It’s the most scientifically rigorous precision medicine cancer trial to date based on the number of patients, treatment options, and types of cancer being studied in a single clinical trial. It represents the ultimate in individualized medicine today—matching treatments to genes—and Main Line Health is very proud to be participating.”
Several more treatment options for the NCI-MATCH trial are currently in development—each one targeting a gene abnormality not among the current group of 24. These additional options are expected to open up to patient enrollment in the coming months, potentially increasing the estimated 23 percent patient match rate. Treatments that show promise in the trial can then advance to larger, more definitive clinical trials.
To learn more about your eligibility to participate in the NCI-MATCH trial, contact Diana Ewen, Clinical Research Administrator, at 484.476.2649. Additional information about the national trial can be found at the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group website.