Q: What is the main result/finding being reported in the Nature Communications article and why is it so important?

Q: What is the main result/finding being reported in the Nature Communications article and why is it so important?

  • Main result/finding:

    The CT scans which are used almost universally both in cancer drug development and in care of cancer patients contain a lot of information about the tumour (e.g. shape, texture) which has previously been discarded because people didn’t know how to quantitate it objectively. MAASTRO researchers have found out how to objectively quantify this information (i.e. craft it into a biomarker) and have shown that they can now predict outcome better than previously.
     
  • Why is it so important?

    Cancer patients who present similarly often have very different outcomes (e.g. survival). Stratified medicine aims to better predict individual patients’ outcomes, and better select optimal treatments, based on improved biomarkers.
     
  • Why is this finding important for patients?

    Stratified medicine in cancer patients is most powerful when based on molecular biomarkers extracted from the tumour. However for many cancer patients these data aren’t available – different parts of tumours have different molecular characteristics and anyway tumours change over time. It’s impossible to biopsy every part of every tumour every month so patients may be imperfectly characterised.
     
  • What is the importance of this finding for drug development?

    Stratified medicine has transformed cancer drug development. This completely independent approach will improve further that stratification leading potentially to smaller faster trials showing greater benefit which can justify higher reimbursement.