Public Release: 

KCI/WSU among lead centers in nationwide NCI MATCH trial

Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research

DETROIT -- The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, in partnership with Wayne State University School of Medicine, is one of the lead academic centers participating in the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) MATCH (Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice) Trial in the United States, set to begin in the next few weeks. Of the more than 2,000 National Cancer Trial Network or NCI Community Oncology Research Program sites participating in the MATCH Trial, only 30 are lead academic centers. The NCI MATCH Trial is a great example of President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative, focusing on treating cancer patients based on the molecular profile of their tumors.

Anthony Shields, M.D., Ph.D., associate center director, Clinical Sciences, and program leader for Molecular Imaging at Karmanos and Wayne State University School of Medicine, will serve as the principal investigator of the NCI MATCH Trial at Karmanos. Dr. Shields is also a member of ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, which is leading the nationwide NCI MATCH Trial.

"Karmanos Cancer Institute is known for its extensive clinical trials and research programs," said Dr. Shields. "Treating patients with targeted therapies looking at the molecular makeup of certain tumors is something we've been doing but we will now be able to take it to an even greater level with NCI MATCH Trial. With so many medical centers participating in this trial, it will provide a greater number of potential candidates with specific gene mutations to test novel therapies that could ultimately lead to finding improved treatment options for cancer patients."

How the NCI MATCH Trial Works:

The NCI MATCH Trial, which is a phase II trial, seeks to determine whether targeted therapies for people whose tumors have specific gene mutations will be effective, regardless of their cancer type. For instance, a breast cancer patient may have the ALK (Anaplastic lymphoma kinase) gene mutation often found in lung cancer. The NCI MATCH Trial sub-study will look at treating the ALK mutation rather than the type of cancer. More than 20 different study drugs or drug combinations, each targeting a certain gene mutation, will be incorporated in the NCI MATCH Trial as treatment sub-studies. The NCI plans to open the MATCH Trial with 10 sub-studies, eventually moving to about 20 or more. Each sub-study will analyze a treatment being investigated for that particular gene mutation, providing more opportunities for potential life-saving treatments.

Trial investigators plan to do a genetic scan on approximately 3,000 patients nationwide during the course of the NCI MATCH Trial. If a molecular abnormality is detected in a patient and there is a corresponding sub-study addressing that abnormality, the patient will go through further evaluation to determine if they are a candidate for the MATCH Trial. The goal is to enroll about 1,000 patients in various treatment sub-studies. Large numbers of cancer patients' molecular profiles are needed since each of the targeted gene mutations occur in 10 percent or less of cancer patients and there needs to be enough patients to be able to show adequate trial results.

The overall outcome goals for the NCI MATCH Trial are as follows: to have the response rate in proportion of the patients in the trial whose tumors shrink by a predefined amount over a specific time period; and second, to achieve a 6-month progression-free survival, which is a measurement of whether a patient's disease remains stable.

"Although we have made great progress in cancer research, continued funding and collaboration is critical for the development of new cancer treatments, such as the molecular-targeted treatments, especially as cancer cells become resistant to current therapies," said Dr. Shields. "This is a major step in the future of cancer care."

Who is Eligible?

Trial participants must be at least 18 years of age or older with solid tumors or lymphomas that have advanced following at least one type of standard treatment or have tumors where there is currently no standard treatment. Each sub-trial will enroll up to 35 patients. Those with rare types of cancer are also encouraged to participate.

The trial will cover the cost of the new tumor biopsy, which is required in the study to test for the gene mutations. The treatment drugs may also be provided by the study. The participants insurance will be billed for clinical visits, laboratory tests and scans, which are all part of the routine care.


Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of four sites participating in the NCI MATCH Trial from the metropolitan Detroit area and is one of the sites with the highest number of minority patients.

For more information on the MATCH Trial or other clinical trials underway to Karmanos, call 1-800-KARMANOS or 1-800-527-6266.

This grant was funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, grant EAY131.

About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

Located in mid-town Detroit, Michigan, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, a subsidiary of McLaren Health Care, is one of 45 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Karmanos is among the nation's best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 physicians and researchers on faculty at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, Karmanos strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. Its long-term partnership with the WSU School of Medicine enhances the collaboration of critical research and academics related to cancer care. Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., is the Institute's president and chief executive officer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to

About Wayne State University School of Medicine

Founded in 1868, the Wayne State University School of Medicine educates more than 1,000 medical students. In addition to undergraduate medical education, the school offers master's degree, doctoral and M.D.-Ph.D. programs in 14 areas of basic science to about 400 students annually. Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students. For more information, visit

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