At ASCO in June 2009 a study was presented showing potential benefit of a novel inhibitor of AKT and MAPK in patients with metastatic colon cancer in second and third line chemotherapy. An update at the 2010 ASCO GI meeting in January further confirmed these promising results.
This was a randomized phase II study comparing Xeloda alone versus a combination of Perifosine and Xeloda.
The target of this novel inhibitor are AKT and MAPK and JNK pathways, which are frequently altered in patients with metastatic colon cancer. When AKT is mutated or highly active, colon cancer cells grow and spread more aggressively and are more resistant to chemotherapy.
Perifosine is the first inhibitor of AKT which shows very promising clinical benefit. The time to tumor progression doubled for patients who received perifosine and Xeloda compared to patients who received only Xeloda.
The Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, the company manufacturing Perifosine, is planning a registration phase III trial to get this drug approved for the market.
In the future we hope to have more drugs like this which target colon cancer’s specific genetic make up. What we need to do in the future is select patients who benefit the most from these specific targeted agents. We need to find out what tumors have activated these pathways.