MATCHing Precision Medicine to All Kids With Cancer

Human neuroblastoma cells.

Human neuroblastoma cells.

This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog.

A multi-center clinical trial is now offering nationwide genetic profiling services to pediatric and young adult cancer patients across the U.S. The goal is to identify gene mutations that can be individually matched with targeted drugs.

“This is the first-ever nationwide precision medicine clinical trial for pediatric cancer,” says pediatric oncologist Katherine Janeway, MD, clinical director of the solid tumor center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

Sponsored by the National Institute of Cancer (NCI) and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the so-called NCI-COG Pediatric MATCH trial will screen patients’ tumors for more than 160 gene mutations related to cancer. Nearly 1,000 patients are expected to participate in the trial and it is estimated that 10 percent of those patients will be matched with a targeted therapy.

Janeway is a principal investigator for one of the Pediatric MATCH’s treatment arms and is involved with the trial’s design as co-chair of a key committee of U.S. pediatric oncologists, the NCI and the COG.

How Pediatric Match Works

The trial — which will be offered at COG hospitals across the U.S. — is enrolling children and adolescents with advanced solid tumors, lymphomas and histiocytosis whose cancer has gotten worse while on treatment or has come back after treatment, according to the NCI.

“We already obtain tumor profiling on all of our patients at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s through our precision cancer medicine initiative and we have access to targeted therapies through our phase I program,” says Janeway.

The trial currently has eight treatment arms, each testing a different drug that targets specific genetic mutations. After a patient becomes a participant in the trial, his or her tumor is sequenced to see if it contains genetic mutations targeted by one or more of the eight drugs being studied. Patients with a cancer that has a genetic profile matching one or more targeted therapies will be offered the opportunity to enroll in the relevant treatment arm(s).

At Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, Janeway is running one arm of the trial investigating the use of a drug called larotractineb, which inhibits TRK protein fusion mutations found in a diverse range of cancer types.

Another arm of the trial, evaluating the drug tazemetostat, is being led by oncologist Susan Chi, MD, who is the clinical director of the pediatric brain tumor clinical trials program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. Tazemetostat inhibits a protein called EZH2, which helps cancer cells proliferate.

“It is very exciting that access to genomic profiling and targeted therapies is now expanding to children all across the country,” says Janeway.

Learn more about precision medicine and how it is used to treat pediatric cancers at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s

Make An Appointment

For adults: 877-960-1562

Quick access: Appointments as soon as the next day for new adult patients

For children: 888-733-4662

All content in these blogs is provided by independent writers and does not represent the opinions or advice of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or its partners.

Latest Tweets

Dana-Farber @danafarber
Survival rates associated with blood cancers have risen for patients of all ages in recent years, but this increase…
Dana-Farber @danafarber
While the #internet can be a useful research tool, the web can also be home to bogus claims about cancer treatments…

Republish our posts on your blog

Interested in sharing one of our stories on your blog? Feel free to republish this content! We just ask that you credit Dana-Farber, link to the original article, and refrain from making edits that change the original context. Questions? Email the editors at