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Observational Study Finds Mixed Survival Outcomes for Targeted Colorectal Cancer Therapies

A large observational study of treatment outcomes in metastatic colon cancer indicates that only some patients experience survival benefits from targeted therapy. The findings, appearing in JAMA Network Open this week, highlight the importance of analyzing outcomes in routine clinical practice instead of only relying on clinical trial results. Current guidelines recommend treating metastatic colon cancer with targeted therapies based on mutation profiles — treatments like epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors. In a new study, investigators from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine examined data on roughly 9,100 metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated at 800 clinical sites across the US between 2013 and 2020. They find that EGFR inhibitor therapy led to improved survival among patients with certain tumor types, in line with data from randomized clinical trials (RCTs). "Unlike in clinical trials, however, no survival benefit was noted with use of VEGF inhibitors" over non-targeted treatment, the study's authors write. "Given that some of our results differ from those of RCTs, our study highlights the importance of analyzing outcomes using data originating from routine clinical practice."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.