Dr Marwan Fakih* speaks to Roshaine Gunawardana, Managing Commissioning Editor: Marwan Fakih is a Professor at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center where he serves as the Section Head for Gastrointestinal Oncology. Dr Fakih’s research interest is in experimental therapeutics, particularly in what pertains to the field of metastatic colorectal cancer. His current clinical research is focusing on developing more effective therapies for patients with RAS-wild type tumors with EGF receptor resistance and on investigating MEK inhibitors in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.
Q What has been the most significant development in the field of colorectal cancer that you have seen in the past 10–15 years?
There is no doubt that one of the most important achievements in the last 10–15 years has been the validation of precision medicine in metastatic colorectal cancer, particularly in what relates to anti-EGF receptor (EGFR) therapy. The validation of RAS status as a marker of response to anti-EGFR therapy (cetuximab and panitumumab) has clearly cemented a new era in colorectal cancer that focuses on the right treatment for the right patients. When cetuximab was investigated against best supportive care in an unselected, chemotherapy resistant or intolerant population on the C017 clinical trial, the median overall survival of the cetuximab-treated population increased from approximately 4.5 months to 6 months.