A groundbreaking free tool to help oncologists choose the best therapies for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer has been launched this week by scientists at the 1st European Lung Cancer Conference jointly organized by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The online database brings together data on all the known somatic mutations (tumor derived - tumor specific) in a molecule called epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR). Somatic mutations in this cell-surface molecule are known to affect treatment with the newer tyrosine kinase inhibitor class of drugs.
"We have known for some time that some EGFR mutations correlate with response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors for lung cancer patients," says Dr. Samuel Murray from Department of Molecular Pathology and Translational Oncology, Metropolitan Hospital, Athens, Greece. "But there have been so many articles published on this topic that we felt that it would be virtually impossible for any given center or individual to interpret the clinical relevance of a given mutation."
"So we worked on the assumption that a comprehensive list of all somatic EGFR mutations coupled with data on the response of non-small-cell lung cancers treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) would help clinicians determine whether a specific mutation was likely to correlate with clinical benefit."
The database includes cumulative data from thousands of patients. In addition, independent patient data (IPD) for patients who have been treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors and some who have not, is being added. A total of 12,244 patients are included, of whom 3,381 had somatic mutations in EGFR. The researchers catalogued 254 different mutations.
Ultimately, the database offers a chance to improve treatment for people receiving tyrosine kinase inhibitors. "We believe that for the more common mutations the database allows clinicians to make more robust decisions concerning their treatment options for NSCLC," says Dr. Murray.
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