PCC Funded COMPASS Trial Leads to the Discovery of Five New Subtypes of Pancreatic Cancer

We are excited to share the recent success of the COMPASS trial, a research study funded in part by Pancreatic Cancer Canada, that has announced the discovery of five distinct subtypes of pancreatic cancer: Basal-like-A, Basal-like-B, Classical-A, Classical-B, and Hybrid. These findings represent the most comprehensive analysis of the molecular subtypes of pancreatic cancer to date and further the possibility for patients to receive targeted treatments based on their subtype.

“A few years ago, when researchers started to discover that there could be many subtypes of pancreatic cancer, we knew that identifying and understanding those subtypes was going to be critical to improving outcomes for patients in our community and advancing our knowledge about this insidious disease,” said Michelle Capobianco, Chief Executive Officer of Pancreatic Cancer Canada. “Since 2016, we’ve invested over $1 million in the COMPASS study, believing this research would unlock very significant elements that will ultimately lead to more lives saved. We are absolutely thrilled with the results to date and are eager to see the translation these findings have directly on the lives of Canadians, and people around the world, facing this disease.”

Drs. Faiyaz Notta and Steven Gallinger.

Image Credit: OICR

The COMPASS trial has conducted genetic sequencing on pancreatic cancer tumour samples from over 300 patients to better understand and define the subtypes of this disease and how it progresses. Findings from the study were published in the medical journal Nature Genetics.

“This research opens new doors for therapeutic development,” says Dr. Steven Gallinger, Co-Leader of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research’s PanCuRx, Surgical Oncologist at UHN, Senior Investigator, Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital and Co-Chair of Pancreatic Cancer Canada’s PancOne™ Network and Medical Advisory Board. “We look forward to capitalizing on the promise of these discoveries, building on our understanding of pancreatic cancer subtypes, and bringing new treatments to patients with the disease.”

The recent findings from the COMPASS trial mark a significant stride in increasing our understanding of this disease and improving treatment efficiency for patients facing pancreatic cancer. We are proud of the important role that Pancreatic Cancer Canada has had in making these discoveries possible through our PancOne research program and the unwavering support of our generous donors and community supporters.  

To read the full press release click here.