Partners In Practice Articles
Renuka Iyer, MD, Co-Director, Liver and Pancreas Tumor Program and Section Chief for Gastrointestinal Oncology, describes how research and clinical trials are offering renewed hope to patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
by Wen Wee Ma, MBBS
Formerly of Roswell Park
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is a key signaling pathway in a number of cancers.
Neuroendocrine and carcinoid tumors are rare and it takes specialized skills and equipment to diagnose them. Because symptoms may not appear, tumors are often discovered when tests and procedures are performed for other purposes.
High constitutive activity of MAPK pathway has been shown in a majority of melanomas. To date, BRAF and MEK have been shown to be clinically relevant components of this pathway with proven efficacy of agents targeted to BRAF and MEK.
BRAF mutations have been reported in 3% of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC), only in adenocarcinoma sub-type of NSCLC. Although uncommon, BRAF mutations represent a valid potential target as multiple RAF kinase inhibitors are available. BRAF V600E mutation is reported in 2% of NSCLC.
BRAF mutation has been reported in approximately 10–15% of colorectal cancers. Data also supports presence of BRAF mutations as a poor prognostic factor, as well as a potential biomarker of lack of response to EGFR directed therapy in KRAS wild type colorectal cancer.
Read an interview with Dr. Valerie Francescutti, Surgical Oncologist at Roswell Park, about the benefits of this advanced procedure and her research into why few patients are referred for the possibly life-extending treatment.