Triple targeted therapy for advanced bowel cancer improves survival

Patients treated with encorafenib and cetuximab, with or without binimetinib, had an average survival of nine months compared with just over five months for patients assigned to standard therapy.

Colon cancer computerised image

Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who have a BRAF mutation have improved survival after treatment with three targeted therapies instead of standard chemotherapy, results from a phase III trial have shown[1]

In the study, 665 patients with BRAF V600E-mutant colorectal cancer, which had progressed despite treatment, were randomised to receive encorafenib and cetuximab with or without binimetinib, or a choice of standard therapy (irinotecan or folinic acid, fluoruracil and irinotecan [FOLFIRI] and cetuximab).

Patients treated with the triple targeted therapy had a median overall survival of 9.0 months compared with 5.4 months for patients assigned to standard therapy. The objective response rate for the triple targeted therapy was 26% compared with 2% for standard therapy.

Presenting the study at the European Society for Medical Oncology World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer on 6 July 2019, Scott Kopetz from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, pointed out that tumour cells can adapt to BRAF therapy, when given alone, through various mechanisms.

“With this triple targeted therapy, we are using a scientifically logical combination to inhibit BRAF and these adaptive mechanisms,” he said.


[1] Kopetz S, Grothey A, Van Cutsem E et al. LBA-006: BEACON CRC: A randomized, three-arm, phase III study of encorafenib and cetuximab with or without binimetinib vs. choice of either irinotecan or FOLFIRI plus cetuximab in BRAF V600E–mutant metastatic colorectal cancer. 2019. Annals Oncol 30 (Supplement 4): iv137–iv151, 2019. doi:  10.1093/annonc/mdz183.0045 

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, September 2019, Vol 303, No 7929;303(7929):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206961

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