The current standard therapies for advanced, recurrent or metastatic colon cancer are the 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin or irinotecan schedules (FOxFI) +/- targeted drugs cetuximab or bevacizumab. Treatment with the FOxFI cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens causes significant toxicity and might induce secondary cancers. The overall low efficacy of the targeted drugs seen in colon cancer patients still is hindering the substitution of the chemotherapy. The ONCOTRACK project developed a strategy to identify predictive biomarkers based on a systems biology approach, using omics technologies to identify signatures for personalized treatment based on single drug response data. Here, we describe a follow-up project focusing on target-specific drug combinations. Background for this experimental preclinical study was that, by analyzing the tumor growth inhibition in the PDX models by cetuximab treatment, a broad heterogenic response from complete regression to tumor growth stimulation was observed. To provide confirmation of the hypothesis that drug combinations blocking alternatively activated oncogenic pathways may improve therapy outcomes, 25 models out of the well-characterized ONCOTRACK PDX panel were subjected to treatment with a drug combination scheme using four approved, targeted cancer drugs.
Keywords: colon cancer; drug combinations; personalized treatment.