Targeted Agents


Anchor lead: A new targeted agent in certain cancers proves very beneficial, Elizabeth Tracey reports

People with a mutation in their cancers abbreviated RET may benefit from an agent called selpercatinib, two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine report. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the findings.

Nelson: They reported on two different studies. One of them for a rare-ish kind of cancer, it’s called a medullary thyroid cancer it very often arises as part of an inherited syndrome, where people get more than one cancer of the endocrine kind of organs, in that one the responses were stunning. The other trial that was reported there are defects in these RET genes, acquired defects, in many different cancers although its not a very common one, one group of them were so-called non-small cell lung cancers, and in that case the drug was also incredibly effective for those people.   :32

Nelson says the number of drugs that target specific mutations is increasing, and that’s good news for people with cancers of all types and argues for genetic analysis of tumors.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.