This Drug Could be Effective Against Tumors with a Rare Mutation

According to a story from Medscape, in a recent study the drug capivasertib appeared to be effective as a treatment for certain metastatic cancer tumors. Classified as an inhibitor of the B/AKT protein kinase, treatment with capivasertib was able to produce significant rates of response in patients whose tumor displayed AKT1-E17K mutations. These results were found in a larger-scale study intended to target a diverse array of genetic abnormalities in cancer tumors.

Cancer Treatment is Evolving

These findings are part of a broader trend in recent years to move away from blanket, one-size-fits-all approaches to cancer treatment, as recent research has revealed the importance of genomic testing of cancers in order to select an appropriate therapy that acts on the genetic characteristics that are identified. Increasingly, this is seen as more significant than where the cancer tumor originated.

About The Study

The study, which was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, included a total of 5,500 patients. From this group, only 68 patients were identified that had an AKT1-E17K mutation, a clear sign that this genetic alteration is generally rare. All of these patients had seen progression of their disease while using the standard therapy. Ultimately, a total of 35 patients participated in the subprotocol study and were given oral capivasertib twice per day, four days per week in 28 day cycles. Each dose was 480 mg, and treatment was halted once toxicity was deemed unacceptable or the patient saw disease progression.

The majority of patients were female and the AKT1-E17K mutation was most prevalent in gynecological and breast cancers. Some patients who were receiving hormone therapy for their breast cancer continued capivasertib treatment at a reduce dose of 400 mg daily. The median follow-up for these patients was 28.4 months. The treatment was able to produce an overall response of 28.6 percent; a single patient with endometrial carcinoma was able to achieve a complete response and at 35.6 months was continuing treatment. Progression free survival at six months was 50 percent.

15 patients saw adverse effects resulting in dose modification, and 11 patients had to stop treatment because of adverse effects, which included rashes and hyperglycemia. The authors concluded that capivasertib could nevertheless be a viable treatment for patients with this mutation; they did note however that patients that carried additional mutations in other genes, such as NRAS, KRAS, BRAF, and others were not treated because of concerns about therapy resistance.

Check out the original study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, here.

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