Functional drug sensitivity testing holds considerable clinical value in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) by providing a means of avoiding unnecessary side effects from compounds that may not have the highest relative efficacy against an individual patient’s tumor.
While distinct molecular subtypes of mCRC can be effectively targeted with innovative drugs, these options are actionable for only a minority of patients. In up to 80% of mCRC cases, molecular biomarker testing fails to yield targeted therapy options. Consequently, 5-FU (fluoropyrimidine)-based combinations remain the mainstay of therapy for the majority of mCRC patients. However, there are no molecular biomarkers available to predict the potential impact of these treatments on an individual’s tumor.
The perfect complement
Functional drug sensitivity testing complements diagnostic efforts and addresses this critical clinical need. By directly assessing the response of a patient’s tumor to specific drugs in vitro, this approach offers personalized information that resolves the blind spot of molecular biomarker-based strategies. Clinicians can gain insights into the sensitivity or resistance of a patient’s tumor to different treatment options, foremost of the main antineoplastic 5-FU-based combinations. This knowledge empowers clinicians to make more informed treatment decisions, and so avoid exposing patients to side effects from compounds that may not have the highest relative efficacy against their specific tumor.
Ultimately, the clinical value of functional drug sensitivity testing lies in its ability to inform therapeutic decisions that make therapeutic efforts more specific and minimize unnecessary side effects. By identifying the drugs that are most likely to be effective against an individual patient’s tumor, clinicians can develop personalized treatment plans that maximize efficacy while reducing the potential for unnecessary side effects. This approach enhances the overall quality of care and supports the goal of precision medicine in mCRC management.