Personalized Combination Therapies Yield Better Cancer Outcomes

June 24, 2019 by Alec Stone MA, MPA, Former ONS Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy
Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

In a perpetual search to refine research and scientific advancements in the pursuit of fighting cancer, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is investing in research that will help practitioners further understand how treatments and combinations of treatments can benefit patients. Through a focus on precision oncology, researchers are examining which combinations of therapies would work best for each individual patient based on a number of factors, including genetics and genomics.

Rather than painting with a broad brush, precision oncology allows providers to tailor treatments to a patient’s specific characteristics. With good results from the I-PREDICT clinical trial, researchers have found evidence that a customized combination approach yields better outcomes for patients (

Researchers discovered that analyzing a tumor’s genetic and molecular profile yielded enough information to build individualized combination therapies for each patient. Patients who adhered most closely to their individualized combination therapies lived longer and had longer periods of progression-free disease than those who had lower adherence.

In a statement from his blog (, NIH Director Francis Collins said about tailored combination treatments, “The evidence showed that those with matching scores greater than 50%, meaning more than half of a tumor’s identified aberrations had been targeted, were more likely to have stopped the progression of their cancers.”

The I-PREDICT trial is currently enrolling additional patients prior to standard treatment to understand if beginning therapy with targeted combination treatments results in better outcomes. The study can be found online at the (

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