Pancreatic Cancer Network-Sponsored Retrospective Study Showcases Potential of Molecularly-Guided Treatments

Pancreatic Cancer Network-Sponsored Retrospective Study Showcases Potential of Molecularly-Guided Treatments

A recent Pancreatic Cancer Network-sponsored study revealed that a precision medicine therapeutic approach could extend survival for pancreatic cancer patients when compared to standard chemotherapy.

With the results of the retrospective analysis reported in The Lancet Oncology, the results implicate the potential of molecularly guided treatments zeroing in on oncogenic drivers.

Know Your Tumor Program

Based out of the Pancreatic Cancer Network, the Known Your Tumor Program (KYTP), initiated in 2014, uses molecular profiling to give doctors and their patients, who qualify for the program, details about the biology of their tumor to help them select better treatment options.

It turns out that approximately 25% of pancreatic cancer patients include actionable molecular alternations represented by molecular alternations pointing to strong evidence of a predictive benefit from a predictive therapy.  So, based on the KYTP, U.S. cancer patients can undergo commercially available multi-omic profiling to provide molecularly tailored therapy options and clinical trial recommendations.

The researchers, led by Michael J. Pishvaian (currently at MD Anderson), conducted a retrospective analysis involving treatment history and longitudinal survival outcomes, the team analyzed patients 18+ with biopsy-confirmed pancreatic cancer of any stage currently enrolled in the KYTP program and who had received molecular testing results. For each patient, the investigators calculated median survival starting from initial diagnosis of advanced disease until death. The research team compared overall in patients with actionable mutations who were treated with a matched therapy as compared to those pancreatic cancer patients that were not matched therapy.

Findings and Discussion

The research team found that of the 1,856 patients who participated in the KYTP between June 2014 and March 2019, 58% of them received personalized reports on their molecular testing results.  A total of 26% of the patients had actionable molecular alterations identified of 1,082 samples. Of 677 patients for whom outcomes were available, 189 had actionable molecular alterations. Those patients with actionable molecular alterations and who received a matched therapy (n=46) actually experienced significantly longer median overall survival than those patients who simply received unmatched therapies. The 46 patients receiving a matched therapy had an overall longer survival than the 488 patients who did not have an actionable molecular alternation.  ]For detailed numbers, we offer a link to the source in The Lancet Oncology.

The adoption of precision medicine looks to have a substantial impact on survival of patients with pancreatic cancer and that molecularly guided treatments targeting oncogenic drivers and the DNA damage response and repair pathway represent a category for additional research and investigation.


The study was funded by the Pancreatic Cancer Network and Perthera. The latter is a leading therapeutic intelligence company advancing precision medicine through their “Perthera Report,” which precisely matches cancer patients with multiple therapeutic options ranked by highest probability of best outcome. The report accomplishes this via an integration of the patient’s multi-omic cell architecture and treatment history with their leading-edge “Therapeutic Intelligence Engine” assessed and approved by their “every-patient, real-time physician and scientific tumor board.” Their engine includes published multi-omic and biomarker impact, drug indications, new and off-label clinical trials, treatment guidelines and patient outcomes for extended survival and quality of life.

The venture, founded in 2012, has raised over $10 million. They employ about 25.

Lead Research/Investigator

Michael J. Pishvaian, MD, MD Anderson

Edik M. Blais, PhD

Call to Action: If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, we recommend not only speaking to your current physician/oncologist but also reach out to the Pancreatic Cancer Network