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Targeted Therapies Showing Promise in Colorectal Cancer

Benjamin Weinberg, MD
Published Online:2:19 PM, Mon January 13, 2020


Benjamin Weinberg, MD, assistant professor of medicine and attending physician at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC, discusses novel agents that may impact the treatment landscape for colorectal cancer (CRC) once made available in the community setting.

Ongoing clinical trials are evaluating targeted therapies, like the novel HER2-targeted agent tucatinib in patients with CRC which mimic treatments that have been successful in other malignancies. EGFR inhibitors are also under evaluation in clinical trials. Some studies are re-challenging treatment with EGFR inhibitors in patients who have already progressed on these agents. While conducting these clinical trials, oncologists are also trying to decide on whether regorafenib (Stivarga), a multikinase inhibitor, should be given before or after treatment with an EGFR inhibitor.

One study Weinberg highlights is the phase II MOUNTAINEER (NCT03043313) study, which is evaluating tucatinib plus trastuzumab in patients with HER2-positive CRC. Additionally, a liquid biopsy study called the COLOMATE trial (NCT03765736) is assessing the use of liquid biopsies to determine which subset of CRC patients fit into. Based on the results of these liquid biopsies, certain patients will be enrolled in the MOUNTAINEER study, Weinberg explains.

Patients who previously progressed on drugs like cetuximab (Erbitux) and panitumumab (Vectibix) but did not develop a resistance may be eligible to enroll in the phase II PULSE study (NCT03992456), which is recycling panitumumab.
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