Improving drug options for colorectal cancer patients

LA JOLLA—Patients with colorectal cancer were among the first to receive targeted therapies. These drugs aim to block the cancer-causing proteins that trigger out-of-control cell growth while sparing healthy tissues. But some patients are not eligible for these treatments because they have cancer-promoting mutations that are believed to cause resistance to these drugs.

Now, Salk Assistant Professor and physician-scientist Edward Stites has used computer modeling and cell studies to discover that more patients may be helped by a common class of targeted therapies than previously thought. The findings were published December 14, 2021, in Cell Reports.

“Colorectal cancer patients who have tried all of the standard treatment options but still seen their cancer progress are in need of new options. Our study suggests that one already available targeted therapy could benefit up to 12,000 additional colon cancer patients every year,” says Stites, the paper’s senior author. “Our findings…
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