Winship Cancer Institute has resumed the enrollment of patients in the National Cancer Institute-Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH) phase II precision medicine cancer trial. This trial is for adults 18 years of age and older with any type of solid tumor or lymphoma (cancer in the cells of the immune system) that has returned or gotten worse after standard systemic therapy (oral or intravenous). Patients may also be eligible if they have a rare type of cancer for which there is no standard treatment.
The NCI-MATCH study seeks to determine whether treating patients with certain drugs or drug combinations that target changes in the tumor genes will shrink the cancer, regardless of its location in the body, such as the breast, lungs, etc. Changes in tumor genes are believed to drive cancer growth.
The trial opened in August 2015 and its leadership paused the enrollment of new patients in November 2015 to conduct a planned scientific review.
"Currently, there are 24 treatment arms available in the trial and we estimate that about one in every four to five screened patients will have a gene abnormality that matches to one of the arms," said Taofeek Owonikoko, MD, Winship's principal investigator of the NCI-MATCH trial.
NCI-MATCH has two key parts to determine if a patient is eligible for one of the study's treatment arms. The first is a screening step, in which tumor samples undergo genomic screening to determine whether their tumors contain specific gene abnormalities that can be matched to FDA-approved or investigational drugs (or drug combinations) being studied in the trial.
The second part of the trial is the assignment of the patient to a treatment arm. Patients who have a gene abnormality identified from their tumor screening are further evaluated for eligibility to enroll in a treatment arm.
"We are specifically interested in patients who are able to withstand being off treatment for a month to six weeks during the genetic testing and selection process," he said. "Patients need to have adequate function of their major organs and be able to carry out light daily physical activities."
The study, led by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group under the sponsorship of the NCI, seeks to enroll 5000 patients for screening nationwide. Winship is participating in this trial through its membership in the NCI's National Clinical Trial Network.