Three studies concentrate on personalized treatment for colon cancer

 

Although colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) is the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States, the mortality rate has been in decline for several decades. Experts point to screening and early detection, as well as improved treatments, as the most likely reasons for the decline.

But this bit of good news comes with a caveat: The decline in colon cancer cases only applies to adults aged 65 and older. Colon cancer is on the rise in adults under age 55In fact, recent data from the American Cancer Society reveals colorectal cancer patients are overall increasingly younger, shifting from a median age of 72 years [at time of] diagnoses in the early 2000s, to 66 years today.”  

Clinical research trials are key to finding new ways to treat and prevent the recurrence of colon cancer and decrease the number of patient deaths. At Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, a division of Providence Cancer Institute of Oregon, we’re currently recruiting for three clinical trials focused on personalized treatment of colon cancer based on unique molecular characteristics of the cancer. Two of the trials are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute through our participation in the Pacific Cancer Research Consortium. 

Study looks at using standard chemotherapy alone or combined with atezolizumab to treat colon cancer 

This phase III trial study is for patients with stage III colon cancer and deficient DNA mismatch repair (dMMR) in the tumor. This can lead to multiple mutations within colorectal cancer. 

The purpose of this two-arm randomized trial is to compare the impact of the drug atezolizumab in addition to FOLFOX chemotherapy (5-fluorouracil, leucovorin and oxaliplatin), or FOLFOX chemotherapy alone. FOLOX chemotherapy is a standard treatment used to prevent colon cancer from coming back. Atezolizumab is an immune therapy drug that may help a patient’s immune system attack the cancer cells and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. 

Providence Cancer Institute is recruiting patients for this clinical trial in four Oregon locations. Alison K. Conlin, M.D., MPH, medical oncologist and Providence’s lead investigator for the Pacific Cancer Research Consortium, is the principal investigator. This study is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Get the full details here: 

Study looks at nivolumab and ipilimumab to help stop rectal cancer cells from growing and spreading 

This phase II study is for patients with locally advanced dMMR rectal cancer who are not candidates for upfront surgery. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of the immunotherapies nivolumab and ipilimumab. In combination with short-course radiation, nivolumab and ipilimumab may help the body’s immune system attack the cancer, possibly interfering with the ability of the tumor cells to grow and spread. Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill tumor cells and shrink tumors. Following treatment, study participants will undergo a surgical resection, also known as a total mesorectal excision (TME), to determine whether the combination treatment stopped cancer from growing and spreading.  

Providence Cancer Institute is recruiting patients for this clinical trial in four Oregon locations. Alison K. Conlin, M.D., MPH, medical oncologist and Providence’s lead investigator for the Pacific Cancer Research Consortium, is the principal investigator. This study is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Get the full details here: 

Study will focus on two drugs used with and without chemotherapy to treat metastatic colorectal cancer 

This phase III study will evaluate whether the drugs encorafenib and cetuximab, given together or in combination with chemotherapy, can improve outcomes in study participants with metastatic colorectal cancer whose tumors have a specific mutation in the BRAF gene. The mutation, called V600E, is found in approximately 10 percent of metastatic colorectal cancers and outcomes are especially poor.  

Encorafenib is a targeted therapy in a group of drugs called small molecule kinase inhibitors. Cetuxiumab is an antibody that targets a protein known as EGFR. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved encorafenib and cetuxiumab for the treatment of V600E-mutated colorectal cancer after earlier studies found the combination was superior to standard treatment. 

In this randomized study, participants will receive one of the following treatments:  

  • Encorafenib plus cetuximab
  • Encorafenib plus cetuximab with chemotherapy 
  • Chemotherapy alone  

The study team will monitor how each participant responds to the study treatment for up to three years. 

Gina Vaccaro, M.D., medical director of Gastrointestinal Cancer Research at Providence Cancer Institute is the principal investigator. Providence is the only location in Oregon that is currently recruiting for this study. Get more details on the study sponsored by Pfizer here: 

For more information about these studies or to refer patients, please contact our Clinical Research office: 

See more studies 

More than 15colorectal cancer studies are currently open to enrollment at Providence Cancer Institute. New research studies are added frequently. 

See all studies in all cancer types at Providence Cancer Institute. 

The Providence Colorectal Cancer Program cares for patients with colon, rectal and anal cancer. From screening through diagnosis, treatment and follow-up, our multidisciplinary team provides expertise and compassion to ensure patients feel well-informed about their options, safe and supported. Patients benefit from the highest quality standards. Our program is the first in the Pacific Northwest and among the first 25 in the country to receive accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer, a quality program of the American College of Surgeons. Patients may also choose to participate in a clinical trial that offers access to new study treatments and helps others by improving and advancing medical care. 

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