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J Proteome Res. 2014 Jun 6;13(6):2846-55. doi: 10.1021/pr401267m. Epub 2014 May 14.

Pilot phase I/II personalized therapy trial for metastatic colorectal cancer: evaluating the feasibility of protein pathway activation mapping for stratifying patients to therapy with imatinib and panitumumab.

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Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, George Mason University , 10900 University Boulevard, Manassas, Virginia 20110, United States.


This nonrandomized phase I/II trial assessed the efficacy/tolerability of imatinib plus panitumumab in patients affected by metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) after stratification to treatment by selection of activated imatinib drug targets using reverse-phase protein array (RPPA). mCRC patients presenting with a biopsiable liver metastasis were enrolled. Allocation to the experimental and control arms was established using functional pathway activation mapping of c-Kit, PDGFR, and c-Abl phosphorylation by RPPA. The experimental arm received run-in escalation therapy with imatinib followed by panitumumab. The control arm received panitumumab alone. Seven patients were enrolled in the study. For three of the seven patients, sequential pre- and post-treatment biopsies were used to evaluate the effect of the therapeutic compounds on the drug targets and substrates. A decrease in the activation level of the drug targets and downstream substrates was observed in two of three patients. Combination therapy increased the activation of the AKT-mTOR pathway and several receptor tyrosine kinases. This study proposes a novel methodology for stratifying patients to personalized treatment based on the activation level of the drug targets. This workflow provides the ability to monitor changes in the signaling pathways after the administration of targeted therapies and to identify compensatory mechanisms.

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