What if a skin cancer drug might also work in breast
cancer patients? Researchers investigate how to expand the use of
existing cancer drugs to new patient groups, with the use of whole
genome sequencing. Netherlands Cancer Institute researcher Daphne
van der Velden describes the first results in her PhD thesis, which
she defended on December 6th.
Many existing cancer drugs that are currently approved for use
in a certain group of patients might also work in other patients.
Therefore, the CPCT consortium started the DRUP
study, in which patients receive targeted therapy or
immunotherapy based on their molecular tumor profile, regardless of
the location of the tumor. Netherlands Cancer Institute researcher
Daphne van der Velden dedicated a large part of het PhD research to
this innovative study.
During her PhD research one group of patients was treated with a
drug that would otherwise not be available to them: nivolumab. A
total of 30 patients with advanced stages of 8 different tumor
types received this immunotherapy
after they had their tumor DNA sequenced. The one thing their
tumors had in common was a part of their molecular profile, called
microsatellite instability. 20 out of 30 patients had clinical
benefit from nivolumab, showing either stabilization or reduction
of tumor burden. Negotiations with the Dutch health authorities are
ongoing to ensure patients with this molecular profile will gain
access to the drug.
So far, almost 300 patients with various tumor types have
started study treatment in one of the 89 cohorts that have been
opened. In each cohort, one of the 18 available study treatments is
tested in a specific patient subgroup. Van der Velden: "The
potential of the DRUP-study is huge. We offer patients with no
(suitable) treatment options access to potentially active and
approved drugs. At the same time we gather a large amount of
valuable information to help us improve targeted therapy for future
study (Drug Rediscovery Protocol) is executed on behalf of the
Center for Personalized Cancer Treatment (CPCT), in which Dutch
hospitals and Hartwig Medical Foundation join forces to realize
personalized cancer treatment for every patient based on the
genetic properties of their tumor. Study coordinator Emile Voest
from the Netherlands Cancer Institute leads the study together with
Henk Verheul (Amsterdam UMC/Vumc) and Hans Gelderblom (LUMC).
Read more about the DRUP
study (Dutch) and CPCT.
Drup study - first
Treatment: nivolumab (immunotherapy)
For whom: patients with microsatellite
Wanneer: this part of the DRUP-study