Molecularly profiled trials: toward a framework of actions for the “nil actionables”

The sequencing of tumour or blood samples is increasingly used to stratify patients into clinical trials of molecularly targeted agents, and this approach has frequently demonstrated clinical benefit for those who are deemed eligible. But what of those who have no clear and evident molecular driver? What of those deemed to have “nil actionable” mutations? How might we deliver better therapeutic opportunities for those left behind in the clamour toward stratified therapeutics? And what significant learnings lie hidden in the data we amass but do not interrogate and understand? This Perspective article suggests a holistic approach to the future treatment of such patients, and sets a framework through which significant additional patient benefit might be achieved. In order to deliver upon this framework, it encourages and invites the clinical community to engage more enthusiastically and share learnings with colleagues in the early drug discovery community, in order to deliver a step change in patient care.

By Dr Allan Jordan, Director of Oncology Drug Discovery

Ref: Br J Cancer (2021)