Recent advances in targeted therapies for advanced gastrointestinal malignancies

Jasmine C. Huynh, Erin Schwab, Jingran Ji, Edward Kim, Anjali Joseph, Andrew Hendifar, May Cho, Jun Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The treatment of advanced gastrointestinal (GI) cancers has become increasingly molecularly driven. Molecular profiling for HER2 and PD-L1 status is standard for metastatic gastroesophageal (GEJ) cancers to predict benefits from trastuzumab (HER2-targeted therapy) and pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1 therapy), while extended RAS and BRAF testing is standard in metastatic colorectal cancer to predict benefits from epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted therapies. Mismatch repair (MMR) or microsatellite instability (MSI) testing is standard for all advanced GI cancers to predict benefits from pembrolizumab and in metastatic colorectal cancer, nivolumab with or without ipilimumab. Here we review recent seminal trials that have further advanced targeted therapies in these cancers including Poly (adenosine diphosphate–ribose) polymerases (PARP) inhibition in pancreas cancer, BRAF inhibition in colon cancer, and isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) and fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibition in biliary tract cancer. Targeted therapies in GI malignancies constitute an integral component of the treatment paradigm in these advanced cancers and have widely established the need for standard molecular profiling to identify candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1168
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Molecular targets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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