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A new study published in the April 16 edition of The Oncologist reveals that the majority of gastric cancers harbor at least one clinically relevant genomic alteration, demonstrating the utility of comprehensive genomic profiling to match patients to targeted therapy options and relevant clinical trials. Gastric cancers are the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the world, and the five-year survival rate once the cancer has spread throughout the body drops to just over 4%.

In the study, led by Siraj M. Ali, M.D., Ph.D., director, clinical development and medical affairs at Foundation Medicine, comprehensive genomic profiling was performed in the course of clinical care with FoundationOne® on 116 gastric cancer samples from patients with advanced disease. In total, FoundationOne detected 501 genomic alterations, including 201 clinically relevant genomic alterations associated with targeted therapies approved by the FDA or currently being studied in clinical trials. In total, 78% of all tested gastric cancer tumors harbored at least one clinically relevant genomic alteration, with the most commonly altered genes being KRAS (16%), CDKN2A (14%), CCND1 (9.5%), ERBB2 (8.6%) and PIK3CA (8.6%).

One patient in this study who’s tumor harbored an amplification of the MET gene was treated with crizotinib, which is currently FDA-approved for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. After starting crizotinib, the patient witnessed a reduction in a tumor that had spread to the liver and the disease was controlled for at least five months.

These findings reveal the importance of comprehensive genomic profiling in informing treatment decisions for advanced gastric cancers, identifying relevant clinical trials and driving further drug development for targeted therapies.