Molecular screening in advanced breast cancer patients allows for personalized therapeutic decisions

  • The study identified a known mutation in 63% of patients and 11% of them benefit from a targeted treatment based on the molecular analysis of their tumor. These results, published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, will help design personalized medicine protocols for this type of cancer.
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The scientific journal Frontiers in Oncology recently published the first results of the AGATA SOLTI-1301 pilot study, which aimed to assess how feasible is the implementation of molecular screening in a real-life environment and whether patients could benefit from a targeted treatment if a mutation is detected.

This study involved 260 patients with advanced breast cancer from all Spain. After a molecular screening, researchers found that 63% of these patients had an already-known mutation and in 50% of cases the experts committee was able to make a treatment recommendation based on the results obtained.

Finally, 11% of these patients received a targeted therapy, most of them through a clinical trial. Among the cases where the therapy could not be personalized, there are mainly those patients who had already undergone another therapy.

According to the IDIBELL principal investigator, ICO L’Hospitalet’s Breast Cancer Unit head, SOLTI member and first author of the study, Sònia Pernas, “the main aim of this study was to evaluate each case through the implementation of a molecular diagnosis and to be able to identify the most appropriate therapy for each patient in case any alteration with a therapeutic target is detected by studying their tumor”.


The first metastatic breast cancer molecular screening program in the State

The AGATA study is driven by the SOLTI research group, and is the first molecular screening program in advanced breast cancer created in Spain. The aim of the study was to network with hospitals across the state in order to ensure that patients diagnosed with this type of tumor have access to a personalized therapy according to the molecular profile of their tumor, mostly through clinical studies.

This study, with the participation of 10 Spanish hospitals, including the three centers of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (L’Hospitalet, Badalona and Girona), analyzed the molecular profiles of each patient’s tumor and, then, an experts committee evaluated the results in order to identify the most appropriate therapy for each of them.

For Pernas, co-principal investigator of the study, together with the coordinator of the Breast Cancer and Gynecological Tumors Unit of the Madrid’s Hospital 12 de Octubre and SOLTI vici-president Eva Ciruelos, “the AGATA SOLTI study helped us learn more about the tumor biology of breast cancer and has been the first step in breaking down barriers to molecular diagnosis. This has been reflected in the launch of the HOPE study (SOLTI-1903) which empowers patients with advanced breast cancer themselves, who, through a digital tool, can request the molecular study through their tumor and blood samples”.

The study was supported by Novartis through a grant and was largely funded by the PI 15/01508 project, integrated into the State’s R&D&I Plan and co-financed by the Carlos III Health Institute – General Sub-Directorate for Evaluation and by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (in the EC) and also by a Fundación Mútua Madrileña grant (to the EC).




The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).

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