From the Journals

Tumor molecular profiling may help identify ‘exceptional responders’


Future steps

Molecular mechanisms are important, but other factors could also play a role in eliciting a response. One is the presence of comorbidities, which was not assessed in the study. Ivy noted that comorbidities could be very important to responses, along with medications that the patient is using for different types of ailments. In addition, the use of complementary and alternative medicines may also have an impact.

“As the field matures, we hope that others will collect these and other characteristics, so that all the data could be used to develop hypotheses about molecular and other factors that can better predict response or resistance,” she said.

The results from this pilot study demonstrated feasibility. Ivy noted that “additional collaboration in similar studies would be welcome, as would methods to use data from various sources to improve our ability to correlate patient characteristics, tumor characteristics and response.

“We envision a larger national and international effort to collect more exceptional responder cases, including more from patients treated with targeted therapies,” she added. “The NCI has been meeting with an interest group that focuses on ER cases in the UK, France, Italy, Canada, and Australia, and this collaborative effort is maturing, albeit slowly.”

The project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the NCI and NIH. Ivy has disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Several coauthors report relationships with industry. The editorialists have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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