The rationale behind the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s revolutionary Know Your Tumor® precision medicine service is to use molecular profiling to identify treatment options that align with characteristics of an individual patient’s tumor. A study published yesterday in the journal Nature Medicine validates the premise of PanCAN’s innovative program.


The Nature Medicine study, authored by researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, describes molecular profiling of 10,000 patients with advanced cancer, including nearly 500 pancreatic cancer patients. Their findings that molecular profiling is feasible and can provide clinically meaningful data about each patient’s tumor validates our Know Your Tumor approach.


“Every pancreatic tumor is different – and therefore patients shouldn’t be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Victoria Manax Rutson, MD, chief medical officer at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “We strongly recommend molecular profiling of pancreatic cancer patients’ tumors to help optimize treatment options.”


Molecular profiling, the analysis of a patient’s tumor to determine which genetic and protein changes are present in their cancer cells, is a key step toward a precision medicine strategy to treat cancer.


Encouragingly, the Sloan Kettering team found that 37 percent of patients had at least one molecular alteration that could be “actionable,” which means that a drug or combination treatment could be particularly beneficial for that patient. Of the first 5,000 patients analyzed, 11 percent subsequently enrolled in clinical trials that were aligned with their molecular characteristics.


“We applaud Sloan Kettering for undertaking this large-scale analysis of molecular profiling of cancer patients and for making their data publicly accessible,” added Manax Rutson. “It’s important that cancer patients know that programs like Know Your Tumor are available and can provide information for them and their oncologists to inform and support treatment decisions.”


The Nature Medicine paper points out that it’ll take more analysis and more time to evaluate patient outcomes and to determine if survival is improved when treatment is aligned with patients’ molecular profiles.


For more information about Know Your Tumor, clinical trials and other resources related to pancreatic cancer, please contact PanCAN Patient Services.