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Retrospective Study Weighs Germline Genetic Contributions to Oncology Trials

For a paper appearing in JAMA Network Open, investigators at the National Cancer Institute and the University of Maryland look back at the use of germline genetic clues in hundreds of oncology trials performed in the US, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere between the end of 1990 and spring of 2022. Drawing on data for almost 84,300 oncology trials in the Informa Trialtrove database, the team identified 887 trials with germline genetic data, including more than 450 trials with BRCA1 or BRC2 biomarker profiling and 367 trials with genetic testing focused on mechanisms related to PARP inhibitor treatment. "Consistent with our hypothesis, most trials currently using germline data prioritize BRCA1/2 and explore additional indications for PARP inhibitors (such as earlier-stage disease) in cancer types where PARP inhibitors already work," the authors report, adding that "[t]o expand the potential benefits of germline data in oncology across more patients, trials must expand beyond the well-trodden BRCA-PARP space."