Choosing the optimal treatment approach for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) demands that oncologists assess both clinical and genomic variables and individualize care based upon the findings. Clinically, choices depend on assessing the side of the colon in which the primary tumor originates, the sites and burden of metastatic disease, the patient’s performance status, and their individual comorbidities. Genomic assessment of the tumor to discern the mutational status of genes such as RAS/RAF, HER2, and TRK, as well as assessing whether tumors have defective mismatch repair (dMMR) or high microsatellite instability (MSI-H), all factor in to potential treatment options and can determine clinical trial eligibility. Metastasectomy may be an option for patients with a low burden of disease and accessible liver- or lung-limited metastases. In some unresectable cases, systemic therapy with a FOLFOX- or FOLFIRI-based regimen with or without a biologic agent can lead to sufficient disease reduction to make a patient eligible for resection of metastatic disease. Tumor sidedness and RAS mutational status guide which biologic we add to the initial chemotherapy backbone, with patients with left-sided, RAS wild-type (WT) tumors receiving anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-directed therapy and patients with right-sided tumors or those with RAS mutations receiving bevacizumab. In patients with tumors that manifest microsatellite instability or deficient mismatch repair, we typically administer checkpoint inhibitors such as pembrolizumab or nivolumab after progression on irinotecan- or oxaliplatin-based therapies. In patients with progressive disease, we routinely send tumor tissue for next generation sequencing (NGS) to assess for the presence of actionable genomic alterations such as HER2, BRAF, and TRK fusions and offer them the option of enrollment on clinical trials with agents targeting those or other identified alterations.
Current Treatment Options in Oncology – Springer Journals
Published: May 11, 2018
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