In a trial that selected new treatments for cancer patients based on the genetic makeup of their tumors, tumors shrank in 22% of patients who received the AKT inhibitor drug ipatasertib. This included patients with breast cancer and endometrial cancer, as well as two rarer forms – anal and salivary gland. In most other patients (56%), their cancer remained stable, meaning their tumors did not shrink or grow.
A small number of patients with advanced cancer participated in the study. The results will be presented on Friday, October 28, 2022, at the 34th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapy in Barcelona, Spain, by Dr. Carolyn McCourt of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, USA.
Ipatasertib is an AKT inhibitor, which means it works by blocking a protein called AKT. AKT helps healthy cells to grow and multiply, but genetic changes in some tumors mean that this protein can also allow cancer cells to grow and spread.
Dr. McCourt said: “Although we have known about the role of AKT in cancer for decades, there are currently no AKT inhibitors that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Recently, several clinical trials have tested AKT inhibitors alone or in combination with other treatments with some success.”
The new study is part of a larger study called NCI-MATCH, which aims to determine whether cancer patients can be successfully treated by choosing therapies that target the gene abnormalities found in their tumors, rather than the type of cancer. NCI-MATCH is co-led by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group and the National Cancer Institute, part of the US National Institutes of Health.
In this part of the study, all patients had tumors with a very specific genetic change called AKT1 E17K. This mutation is estimated to be present in up to 4% of breast tumors, about 2% of endometrial tumors, and a small proportion of other solid tumors.
Most of the 32 patients who received ipatasertib in the study had already tried at least three other treatments. During the trial, patients took ipatasertib orally once a day for 28-day cycles and continued as long as they felt well enough and the treatment continued to work.
About 44% of patients had tumors that did not grow for at least six months while taking ipatasertib.
The most common side effects that patients have experienced are diarrhea and nausea.
Dr. McCourt told the symposium, “This is a relatively small patient population, and we don’t have a large number of each individual tumor type. However, we have found indications that this treatment may be effective for some patients. We need to do more research to understand why some patients’ tumors do not respond to ipatasertib, while other patients’ disease has remained stable for a long time with this treatment. We also need to study whether ipatasertib can be combined with other drugs to improve outcomes for more patients.”
The research team plans to analyze the tumor samples further to find any other clues that could help predict which patients will benefit from this treatment and which will not.
Professor Ruth Plummer of the University of Newcastle, UK, is co-chair of the EORTC-NCI-AACR symposium and was not involved in the study. She said: “NCI-MATCH gives patients the opportunity to receive targeted therapy based on the genetic changes in their tumor, rather than where the tumor started. This is an important trial because it involves patients with different tumor types. It includes has particularly rare cancers for which there are currently no standard treatments. It also offers alternative options for patients with cancers that have not responded to current recommended treatments.”
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Abstract #: 11, “Ipatasertib in patients with tumors with AKT mutations: results from the NCI-MATCH ECOG-ACRIN (EAY131) study with the Z1K subprotocol”, Later and Proposed Papers, Plenary Session 7, Rooms 111 and 112, 15:00 -16:30 CEST, Friday, October 28, 2022
Courtesy of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer
Citation: AKT Inhibitor Shows Signs of Efficacy in Trial in Patients Matching Drug to Tumor Gene Mutation (2022, October 26) Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-akt-inhibitor -effectiveness-patient-trial.html
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