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Last Updated: 08/24/2015

NCI-MATCH Trial Is Now Enrolling Patients

The NCI-Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH) trial opened the week of August 17, 2015 through NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). NCI-MATCH seeks to determine whether treating cancers with drugs that target their molecular abnormalities will show evidence of effectiveness. Patients’ tumors will be analyzed to determine whether they contain genetic abnormalities upon which a drug being used in the trial could have an effect (“actionable mutations”), and treatment will be assigned based on which abnormality is present.

Unique aspects of NCI-MATCH:

  • It is a collaborative effort between ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, one of the five NCTN groups, and NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, with each contributing equally to the design and implementation of the trial.

  • The trial uses molecular eligibility criteria that accept patients with any solid tumor or lymphoma, including rare tumors.

  • The trial uses rigorously validated laboratory eligibility assays, including a next-generation sequencing platform that detects mutations, indels (insertions or deletions in DNA), chromosome translocations, and gene amplifications in over 140 genes relevant to cancer; it also uses a validated immunohistochemistry assay that could detect loss of activity for the PTEN protein.

  • These assays will be performed on biopsies obtained just prior to trial entry, with a turnaround time of about 2 weeks — a key aspect of NCI-MATCH. This approach should ensure that the molecular information about the tumor is as current as possible, avoiding a potential problem in which specimens obtained earlier in the disease’s course no longer reflect the molecular status of the tumor after exposure to additional treatments.

Because it has been demonstrated that many driver mutations exist in low prevalence across tumor types (1% to 10%), NCI-MATCH was designed to include enough targeted agents to address a large number of molecular treatments to address those alterations. Hopefully, the breadth of NCI-MATCH will not only aid in finding evidence of activity of particular agents, but also allow evaluation of that signal, even in rarer tumors, by expansion of that particular arm. NCI and ECOG-ACRIN are hoping that initial findings from the first arms will be available in the next few years and that results from all arms of the trial will be available early next decade. The trial is now open in the NCTN, including the Children’s Oncology Group, for patients 18 years of age or older.