Survey: 66% of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer are now tested for KRAS

Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has revealed new results from a global survey demonstrating that 66% of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) are now tested for KRAS to determine if they could benefit from a personalized therapy, such as Erbitux® (cetuximab). This represents a 50% increase in levels of KRAS testing in just one year. These figures indicate that physicians across the world are becoming increasingly aware that testing patients' KRAS status enables them to offer each patient the treatment most likely to improve his or her therapeutic outcome.

“These are very positive findings which demonstrate that in only two years the management of mCRC has been revolutionized, greatly to the benefit of patients”

"KRAS testing is a critical tool for allowing physicians to know exactly which treatments are most suitable for their mCRC patients," said Professor Fortunato Ciardiello, Lead Investigator and Professor of Medical Oncology at The Second University of Naples, Italy. "This survey shows that more and more physicians are convinced by the strength of the evidence and are conducting KRAS testing as standard. This way, they can ensure their patients receive treatment which is personalized to them and increases their chance of response and even cure."

This survey, which provides the latest figures from a yearly evaluation of physician awareness and usage KRAS testing in Europe, Asia and Latin America, shows a notable increase in the number of physicians that test KRAS status as a standard part of the diagnostic procedure for mCRC. For example, at the start of 2009 - less than a year after new evidence demonstrated the value of Erbitux for treating mCRC patients with KRAS wild-type tumors - 33% of physicians in Europe already routinely tested KRAS status at diagnosis of mCRC. By 2010, this figure has more than doubled to 73%. This is in remarkable contrast to the small percentage of mCRC patients whose KRAS status was tested in 2008.

These 2010 results follow hot on the heels of 2009 survey figures presented at the ASCO annual meeting in early June, 2010, which demonstrated that Erbitux has become a standard of care for patients with confirmed wild-type tumors.

"These are very positive findings which demonstrate that in only two years the management of mCRC has been revolutionized, greatly to the benefit of patients," said Dr. Wolfgang Wein, Executive Vice President, Oncology, Merck Serono. "KRAS testing has allowed mCRC patients to receive personalized therapy, such as with Erbitux, that is tailored to their specific disease and which provides them with a higher chance of responding to treatment and living longer."

This was underlined at ASCO 2010 by the presentation of the latest Erbitux data from the CRYSTAL study, which reinforces the drug's significant overall survival benefit in mCRC patients with KRAS wild-type tumors versus FOLFIRI alone.

This latest survey demonstrates that the vast majority of healthcare professionals are performing KRAS testing as standard and more and more patients are being tested for KRAS, reaching for example 76 percent in Europe. The significant yearly increases in levels of KRAS testing illustrate that physicians across the world are taking an increasingly evidence-based approach to the management of mCRC. They also reflect the growing body of evidence that the addition of Erbitux to the standard chemotherapy regimen, FOLFIRI, significantly improves outcomes, including overall survival (OS), in mCRC patients with KRAS wild-type tumors.

Source:

 Merck Serono

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