Genetic Testing for Lung Cancer – Why is It Important?

Lung Cancer TestsGenetic mutations play an important role in the development of lung cancer. Genetic testing helps in identifying specific genetic changes in the tumor cells that might be get treated with targeted therapies. These therapies help to block out the growth of cancer cells without causing harm to healthy cells.

Role of Genetics

Lung cancer cells can multiply uncontrollably and may occur due to harmful genetic mutations in DNA of lung cell. When mutations occur, the newly formed cells carry the same dangerous mutations. The main types of mutations that can lead to lung cancer are driver mutations and passenger mutations. While driver genes have a direct role in cancer process, passenger mutations outnumber the driver mutations. Genetic Testing is a way of identifying specific driver mutations so that the doctors are able to target rightly with medications and therapies. The targeted therapies are selected based on precise information about your specific disease.

Genetic Testing

Some of the most common mutations in NSCLC are:

EGFR Mutations: They occur in about 10 percent of people with NSCLC. This mutation causes over production of epidermal growth factor reception (EGFR). It is most common in lung cancer patients who have never smoked.

KRAS Mutations: These are involved about 25% of time. When the gene carries instructions for damaged KRAS protein, cells may make protein that can’t regulate growth.

ALK Rearragments: These abnormal proteins are formed due to fusion of two genes called anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4).

BRAF Mutations: These mutations are common in smokers and affect B-Raf proteins, causing cancer spread.

ROS1 Mutations: This type of mutation is fusion of ROS1 and results in production of abnormal protein.

Genetic Testing is one of the promising ways to control the spread of lung cancer. More research is required to be done to increase the effectiveness. Genetic testing helps your healthcare practitioner in better understanding your treatment needs.

The information shared in this blog is for educational purposes only. Contact your doctor for any health issues.

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