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Biopharmaceuticals Oncology

 News Release - November 3, 2008

NCCN Updates Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer

NCCN announces new updates to the NCCN Guidelines for Colon and Rectal Cancers. The updates include recommendations to the pre-treatment work-up and use of anti-cancer agents in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer depending on the status of the tumor's KRAS gene. The changes are based on recent studies demonstrating that the tumor KRAS gene status is highly predictive of outcome with certain therapies.

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) announces important updates to the NCCN Guidelines on Colon and Rectal Cancers. These changes reflect leading developments in the treatment of patients with colon and rectal cancers and represent the standard of care in oncology in both community and academic settings.

New to the NCCN Guidelines is the recommendation that a determination of the KRAS gene status of either the primary tumor or a site of metastasis should be part of the pre-treatment work-up for all patients diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer. Another important update to the NCCN Guidelines is that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors, cetuximab (Erbitux®, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company/ImClone Systems Incorporated) and panitumumab (Vectibix®, Amgen), either as single agents, or, in the case of cetuximab, in combination with other agents, are now recommended only for patients with tumors characterized by the wild-type KRAS gene.

These modifications to the NCCN Colon and Rectal Cancer Guidelines are based on results of a number of recent studies demonstrating that the tumor KRAS gene status is highly predictive of outcome with anti-EGFR therapies. In these studies, statistically significant benefits of EGFR inhibitor therapy were restricted to patients with tumors characterized by the wild-type KRAS gene. Since anti-EGFR therapies were ineffective for patients with tumors characterized by known KRAS gene mutations, the NCCN panel concluded that the potential toxicity and expense of anti-EGFR therapies are not justified in this group of patients.

NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ are developed and updated through an evidence-based process with explicit review of the scientific evidence by multidisciplinary panels of expert physicians from NCCN Member Institutions. The most recent version of this and all the NCCN Guidelines are available free of charge at

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of 21 of the world’s leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives.

The NCCN Member Institutions are: City of Hope, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital & Richard J. Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Cancer Institute, Memphis, TN; Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; UNMC Eppley Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE; The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN.

For more information on NCCN, please visit

Source: National Comprehensive Cancer Network

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