The National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced a new trial to evaluate genetic similarities in a variety of cancer types. I think that this is a great trial, which those of us who might qualify for it should think about participating. Increasingly we are thinking that to define (name) a cancer just upon the affected body part limits our thinking, our ability to create new treatments as well as fully exploit existing treatments. Cancer is a genetic illness and we need to understand the commonalities that exist between the different cancers. This trial is a good step in that direction. It offers the possibility of broadening our understanding about how to treat cancer and, possibly, redefine cancer not by body part, but by what might be more important by its genetic structure.

This is the announcement:

As you may know, NCI-MATCH is just getting underway and we want to make you aware of its activation. The NCI Office of Advocacy Relations will keep you informed as the trial develops. In the meantime, please see below for information we can share at this time.

NCI-MATCH Precision Medicine Cancer Trial Opens

NCI-MATCH, the largest, most scientifically rigorous precision medicine trial in cancer to date, is now opening at cancer centers and community hospitals across the country.

The trial, also known as trial EAY131, seeks to determine whether matching certain drugs or drug combinations to people whose tumors have specific gene abnormalities will effectively treat their cancer, regardless of their cancer type. Treatment for this trial focuses on molecular abnormalities of a patient’s tumor instead of the organ site of the cancer.

The NCI-MATCH trial:

Seeks to enroll adults 18 years of age and older with any type of solid tumor or lymphoma (cancer in the cells of the immune system) that has returned or worsened after standard systemic therapy (oral or intravenous). Patients may also be eligible if they have a rare type of cancer for which there is no standard treatment.
Is a nationwide trial that is locally available and will enroll patients on a rolling basis as additional sites and treatment options become available (the trial opened with ten treatment arms and an additional 12 will be added within the next several months).
Requires patients to have a new biopsy and their tumor cells will need to undergo genetic testing to see if they contain one of the gene mutations being studied. If so, they will receive additional evaluation to determine if they meet the specific eligibility requirements of the treatment arms to be accepted in the trial. Trial researchers expect that about 1000 patients—one third of those screened—will have one or more molecular abnormalities that match one of the 22 treatment options being studied
NCI-MATCH was co-developed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, one of five NCI-sponsored National Clinical Trial Network Groups. ECOG-ACRIN is leading the trial.

For more information or to locate trial sites, contact the NCI Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER or visit the NCI-MATCH page on”