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New Study Results Presented by Foundation Medicine and Collaborators at ASCO21 on Ancestry-Based Disparities in Prostate Cancer Care Underscore Importance of Equitable Access to Precision Medicine Advances

Data sourced from clinico-genomic database revealed lower rates of early genomic testing use and clinical trial enrollment among men of African ancestry compared to those of European ancestry

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Foundation Medicine, Inc. and its collaborators announced today the presentation of new data analyzing the genomic landscape, comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) utilization and treatment patterns among more than 11,000 men with advanced prostate cancer, including 12% with a predicted African genomic ancestry. In what is believed to be the largest known cohort of its kind, researchers found that despite similar rates of actionable gene alterations between men of European and African ancestry, men of African ancestry were less likely to receive CGP early in their treatment course and less likely to be enrolled in clinical trials. These findings highlight the importance of additional factors, beyond inherent differences in disease biology, in potentially driving disparities in outcomes. They also underscore the need to expand access to precision medicine and clinical trial enrollment. Data will be presented during an oral presentation on June 8 at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology Virtual Scientific Program (ASCO21).

Prostate cancer incidence and clinical outcomes vary widely across race and ethnicity, and the underlying drivers of these outcomes are multifactorial, including systemic barriers that lead to differences in access to genomic and precision medicine. Men of African ancestry are particularly underrepresented in prostate cancer research. With this study, Foundation Medicine and collaborators at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the University of Michigan and Harvard Medical School explored the interplay between ancestry and patient care.

“Men of African ancestry experience the greatest burden of disease in prostate cancer, and this research indicates that differences in cancer care are not solely based on biological factors, but rather points to socioeconomic factors such as access to comprehensive genomic profiling and clinical trial enrollment,” said study investigator Brandon Mahal, M.D., Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology and Assistant Director of Community Outreach and Engagement, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “To ensure equitable opportunities for precision medicine, we need to expand access to and awareness of advances that impact patient care and outcomes, including timely use of genomic testing to help make informed treatment decisions.”

The study analyzed 11,741 men with advanced prostate cancer who received CGP as part of routine clinical care, along with a subset of 897 patients with real-world clinical data from Foundation Medicine and Flatiron Health’s joint clinico-genomic database (CGDB). Results showed that the rates of genomic alterations were largely similar across ancestry, including alterations in BRCA1/2, androgen receptor, DNA damage response pathway genes and actionable genes with therapy implications. Within the CGDB cohort, the proportion of patients receiving immunotherapy and PARP inhibitors was also similar across ancestry. However, men of African ancestry were less likely to receive a clinical study drug than men of European ancestry (11% vs. 30%). Further, men of African ancestry received a median of two lines of therapy prior to CGP, compared to one line of therapy for men of European ancestry, highlighting the extended time from diagnosis to implementation of precision medicine. These factors may potentially impact the genomic landscape, outcomes, and ultimately disparities.

“At Foundation Medicine, we strive to better understand barriers at different stages of a patient’s journey and identify opportunities to mitigate disparities in cancer care. Our study highlights the need for the cancer community to understand and systematically define barriers to care across different populations, especially those traditionally underrepresented in clinical research," said study co-lead Smruthy Sivakumar, PhD, scientist at Foundation Medicine. "The results contribute to our knowledge of comprehensive genomic profiling and real-world data to better understand the barriers patients face in accessing quality cancer care – a critical step toward addressing persistent disparities," added Jessica Lee, study co-lead and scientist at Foundation Medicine.

A full list of research being presented by Foundation Medicine and its collaborators at ASCO21 can be found at

About Foundation Medicine
Foundation Medicine is a molecular information company dedicated to a transformation in cancer care in which treatment is informed by a deep understanding of the genomic changes that contribute to each patient's unique cancer. The company offers a full suite of comprehensive genomic profiling assays to identify the molecular alterations in a patient’s cancer and match them with relevant targeted therapies, immunotherapies and clinical trials. Foundation Medicine’s molecular information platform aims to improve day-to-day care for patients by serving the needs of clinicians, academic researchers and drug developers to help advance the science of molecular medicine in cancer. For more information, please visit or follow Foundation Medicine on Twitter (@FoundationATCG).

Foundation Medicine® is a registered trademark of Foundation Medicine, Inc.

Source: Foundation Medicine

Foundation Medicine Contact:
Abigail Alderman, 781-534-3210

Source: Foundation Medicine

June 5, 2021