Colorectal cancer and K-Ras gene mutation testing

An example of T1 translational research that changed clinical practice is from the CO.17 colorectal cancer trial conducted by the CTC and the AGITG in collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Trials Group.

The trial commenced in 2003. Results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Karapetis et al. 2008 N Engl J Med. 359:1757), showed that in patients treated with the epidermal growth-factor receptor (EGRF) inhibitor, cetuximab, patients whose colorectal tumours had the wild-type (normal) KRAS gene had significantly better overall survival than patients with the mutated KRAS gene.

In 2008, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network published clinical practice guidelines regarding KRAS gene testing for colorectal cancer patients. This illustrates  a very rapid uptake of a research finding into routine clinical practice.