National Cancer Institute Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH) is a precision medicine basket trial designed to test the effectiveness of treating cancers based on specific genetic changes in patients’ tumors, regardless of cancer type. Multiple subprotocols have each tested different targeted therapies matched to specific genetic aberrations. Most subprotocols exhibited low rates of tumor shrinkage as evaluated across all tumor types enrolled. We hypothesized that these results may arise because these precision cancer therapies have tumor type-specific efficacy, as is common among other cancer therapies.

Experimental Design:

To test the hypothesis that certain tumor types are more sensitive to specific therapies than other tumor types, we applied permutation testing to tumor volume change and progression-free survival data from 10 published NCI-MATCH subprotocols (together n = 435 patients). FDR was controlled by the Benjamini–Hochberg procedure.


Six of ten subprotocols exhibited statistically significant evidence of tumor-specific drug sensitivity, four of which were previously considered negative based on response rate across all tumors. This signal-finding analysis highlights potential uses of FGFR tyrosine kinase inhibition in urothelial carcinomas with actionable FGFR aberrations and MEK inhibition in lung cancers with BRAF non-V600E mutations. In addition, it identifies low-grade serious ovarian carcinoma with BRAF v600E mutation as especially sensitive to BRAF and MEK co-inhibition (dabrafenib plus trametinib), a treatment that received accelerated FDA approval for advanced solid tumors with BRAF v600E mutation.


These findings support the value of basket trials because even when precision medicines do not have tumor-agnostic activity, basket trials can identify tumor-specific activity for future study.

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