Cancer treatments are typically prescribed for tumors specific to a region of the body. However, last May, the FDA approved the first cancer treatment that can be used for tumors located anywhere in the body, as long as it carries a specific type of genetic mutation: Keytruda (pembrolizab). It is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that can treat any solid tumor with a mismatch repair deficiency (the body cannot fix DNA damage to stop cancer growth). Another experimental drug that can cure tumors anywhere in the body is Larotrectinib. It inhibits tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) genes from activating cancer growth. TRK fusion mutations are found in only 1% of all cancers but are responsible for over 90% of some rare cancers. This approval is significant in that people with all types of cancer, not just those who have cancers common enough to have their own clinical trials, can try these new effective immunotherapies. Three out of four patients treated with Larotrectinib responded and over 90% of them were still doing well post-treatment.
Article Source: Highleyman, Liz. (2018). Treating Cancer Anywhere. Cancer Health, pp. 8.
Targeted Treatments
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