EORTC’s SPECTAcolor screening patients with colorectal cancer for efficient clinical trial access

SPECTAcolor, the EORTC’s premier Screening Platform for Efficient Clinical Trial Access for patients with colorectal cancer, enrolled its 100th patient in February 2014.

“We are satisfied with the recruitment of patients with colorectal cancer and the analyses of their tumors. Our efforts will lead to the creation of dedicated clinical trials in which targeted therapies will be tested on the basis of molecular biomarker analyses,” said Dr. Gunnar Folprecht of Universitaetsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden, Germany, one of the initiators and principal investigators of SPECTAcolor.

In practice, once the patient has consented to participate in SPECTAcolor, their biological material will be sent to the central pathology lab in Dresden, Germany, for molecular analysis. This will enable matching a given patient’s profile with suitable trials that are investigating targeted drugs.

The results of the analysis, that is the patient’s molecular profile, will be sent to the doctor treating that particular patient. Right from the start, this could help physicians make treatment choices.

The expected benefits from SPECTAcolor are many and range from a more structured approach for optimized patient access to clinical trials, new partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry, new opportunities for biomarker development with diagnostic companies, exploration of new forms of adaptive licensing with regulators and payers, and new opportunities for participating investigators to expand or develop new translational research projects according to their own particular subjects of interest.

Total number of enrolled patients per country as of 7 February 2014
Germany 65
Spain 18
Switzerland 20
Total 103


This encouraging start for SPECTAcolor is a tribute to the dedication of the many investigators at the institutions participating to this program. As of 07 February 2014, SPECTAcolor had opened in seven institutions in three countries, and additional sites, and in additional European countries, are expected to open soon.

Dr. Carlo Messina, EORTC Clinical Research Physician, says, “SPECTAcolor is a pioneering clinical research model and promises to revolutionize the way we approach cancer treatment as a whole. At the EORTC, we are not limiting this approach to colorectal cancer alone. Strategically, instead of testing a drug in all patients defined by the cancer site and subsequently defining responding subgroups, we hope to conduct studies in preselected subtypes of patients who express specific molecular characteristics and would more likely respond to a particular targeted agent. In the near future, the EORTC plans to open similar screening programs for patients with melanoma, lung cancer, and brain tumors.”

SPECTAcolor is supported by the EORTC Charitable Trust and the corporate social responsibility program of Alliance Boots, an international pharmacy-led health and beauty company. The EORTC recognizes the European Society of Pathology and the Sanger Institute for their active and high quality contributions.

For more information about SPECTAcolor please visit or

John Bean, PhD
EORTC, Medical Science Writer

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