Merck Serono, a division of Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, have announced findings from a new multinational survey of patient awareness and understanding of biomarker-led personalized cancer care presented at the ESMO 2012 Congress (European Society for Medical Oncology). The study – sponsored by Merck – was conducted across several indications, and revealed that whilst the majority of patients surveyed want to be involved in decisions about their treatment, almost a third (32%) are unaware that certain cancers can be tested to determine which treatment could be most suitable for them. Patients also say they would be willing to delay the start of their treatment to benefit from a targeted therapy, even if that meant undergoing a tumor re-biopsy. The survey findings were highlighted in the official ESMO press program.
In patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), the survey found that almost half remain unaware that a KRAS biomarker test can determine whether a targeted therapy could be effective for them.1
Also, 73% of mCRC patients would be willing to delay initiation of treatment by two weeks or more (the average turnaround time for KRAS test results) to be prescribed a therapy that is targeted and effective, with around a third (31%) stating they would be prepared to wait ‘as long as it takes’.1 Almost three quarters (73%) of mCRC patients would be willing to undergo a re-biopsy if necessary.1
“KRAS testing and other biomarker tests can be beneficial in the management of patients, and it would be useful to have these tests conducted as early as possible,” said Professor Sabine Tejpar, Digestive Oncology Unit, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium, and lead study author. “However, this new survey shows that patients with metastatic colorectal cancer are less likely to be given a biomarker test and a targeted therapy at diagnosis than those with other cancers. This can lead to suboptimal treatment and unnecessary additional investigations, including re-biopsy, before an appropriate 1st-line targeted therapy is given.”
About Colorectal Cancer
CRC is the second most common cancer worldwide, after breast cancer.6 Overall mortality caused by CRC varies according to local screening practices, and the stage at which the disease is diagnosed.7 Approximately 608,000 people worldwide die from the disease each year, accounting for 8% of all cancer deaths, making it the fourth most common cause of death from cancer.8
1. Tejpar S, et al. ESMO 2012 Congress; ESMO ID 1382P.