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Breast cancer trials are making the most use of personalized medicine developments in trials, according to data gathered by Trialtrove.


In an analysis of oncology drug trials covering the top five cancer areas that used pharmacogenomic or pharmacogenetic (PGX) biomarkers in trials since 2003, the pharmaceutical clinical trials intelligence source found that breast cancer drug trials have consistently held the top ranking for the number of trials selecting or stratifying patients with (PGX) biomarkers.


The other oncology areas that were analyzed included non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and melanoma.[SD1] 


Trials that used PGX biomarkers for patient selection or stratification made up 51% of all breast cancer drug trials between 2003 and 2016, with trials for non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma drugs coming second. Drug trials in these areas both used PGX biomarkers for 25% of their total drug trials.


When it came to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and colorectal cancer drugs, PGX biomarkers were only used in 19% and 22% of clinical trials respectively.


For each of the top five cancers, the number of PGX biomarker selection trials beginning each year has generally grown. One  exception [SD2] is a decrease in trial counts for nearly all cancer types in 2016, but this could potentially be due underreporting and the delayed disclosure of activity in the public domain.


Oncology as a whole has been far quicker to adopt PGX biomarkers than other areas of research. 90% of all trials using PGX for patient selection were in cancer research.


Andrew Benson, senior director at Trialtrove, said: “We’ve seen a fairly consistent increase in cancer research that is driven by genomics. This could be due to the creation of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) program, a comprehensive genomic map of 33 different types of cancer.


“This, and other research initiatives to inform and develop the use of highly targeted drug development using biomarkers, means that we are likely to see an increase in clinical trials using PGX biomarkers. This growth may also lead to the identification of additional known genomic characteristics that could be used to treat various tumor types in the future.”



 [SD1]These indications were selected since they were the top 5 cancers to use PGX markers for patient selection or stratification. Perhaps this clarification should be added here, otherwise it’s not clear why these 5 indications were selected.

 [SD2]The dip in 2016 is not the only exception since some cancers have seen decreased activity prior to 2016. It’s just all but NHL had a decrease in 2016. 

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