Molecularly matched therapy in the context of sensitivity, resistance, and safety; patient outcomes in end-stage cancer - the MetAction study

Acta Oncol. 2020 Jul;59(7):733-740. doi: 10.1080/0284186X.2020.1742377. Epub 2020 Mar 25.


Background: In precision cancer medicine, the challenge is to prioritize DNA driver events, account for resistance markers, and procure sufficient information for treatment that maintains patient safety. The MetAction project, exploring how tumor molecular vulnerabilities predict therapy response, first established the required workflow for DNA sequencing and data interpretation (2014-2015). Here, we employed it to identify molecularly matched therapy and recorded outcome in end-stage cancer (2016-2019).Material and methods: Metastatic tissue from 26 patients (16 colorectal cancer cases) was sequenced by the Oncomine assay. The study tumor boards interpreted called variants with respect to sensitivity or resistance to matched therapy and recommended single-agent or combination treatment if considered tolerable. The primary endpoint was the rate of progression-free survival 1.3-fold longer than for the most recent systemic therapy. The objective response rate and overall survival were secondary endpoints.Results: Both common and rare actionable alterations were identified. Thirteen patients were found eligible for therapy following review of tumor sensitivity and resistance variants and patient tolerability. The interventions were inhibitors of ALK/ROS1-, BRAF-, EGFR-, FGFR-, mTOR-, PARP-, or PD-1-mediated signaling for 2-3 cases each. Among 10 patients who received treatment until radiologic evaluation, 6 (46% of the eligible cases) met the primary endpoint. Four colorectal cancer patients (15% of the total study cohort) had objective response. The only serious adverse event was a transient colitis, which appeared in 1 of the 2 patients given PD-1 inhibitor with complete response. Apart from those two, overall survival was similar for patients who did and did not receive study treatment.Conclusions: The systematic MetAction approach may point forward to a refined framework for how to interpret the complexity of sensitivity versus resistance and patient safety that resides in tumor sequence data, for the possibly improved outcome of precision cancer medicine in future studies., identifier: NCT02142036.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / secondary
  • Crizotinib / therapeutic use
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Irinotecan / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Panitumumab / administration & dosage
  • Precision Medicine
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma / genetics*
  • Sarcoma / secondary
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Survival Rate
  • Vemurafenib / administration & dosage
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Vemurafenib
  • Crizotinib
  • Panitumumab
  • Irinotecan

Associated data