NIH’s ComboMATCH initiative will test new drug combinations guided by tumor biology

June 2, 2023
NCI initiative.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has launched a large precision medicine cancer initiative to test the effectiveness of treating adults and children with new drug combinations that target specific tumor alterations.

Known as the Combination Therapy Platform Trial with Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (ComboMATCH), the initiative is one of the largest of its kind to test combinations of cancer drugs guided by tumor biology. The endeavor aims to identify promising treatments that can advance to larger, more definitive clinical trials outside of ComboMATCH. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

ComboMATCH comprises numerous phase 2 treatment trials that will each evaluate a drug combination—usually either two targeted drugs or a targeted drug plus a chemotherapy drug. Some trials will include patients with specific changes in their cancer cells, no matter where the cancer arose in the body, whereas others will enroll patients with specific cancer types.

The combinations will include both U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs and investigational agents contributed by pharmaceutical companies. Hundreds of thousands of potential drug combinations exist, so one challenge has been to narrow down and prioritize the most promising ones.

Three ComboMATCH trials are already open for enrollment:

  • A study testing the use of fulvestrant (Faslodex) and binimetinib (Mektovi) in patients with an NF1 mutation in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer that has spread (NCT05554354)
  • A study testing the use of selumetinib (Koselugo) and olaparib (Lynparza) or selumetinib alone in women with a RAS mutation who have endometrial or ovarian cancer that has come back or persists despite treatment (NCT05554328)
  • A study of chemotherapy plus ipatasertib in patients with AKT mutations who have solid tumors that have spread (NCT05554380)

Six additional trials will be available in the coming months, with more to be added over time. Overall, NCI plans for ComboMATCH to include about 2,000 patients, but that number could grow.

NIH release