Use of Biomarker Tests for Lung Cancer Patients Shows Wide Variation

lung | Lung CancerA new study from Netherlands has shown that biomarker testing to predict treatment response in non-small cell lung cancer varied widely in terms of costs and tests involved. The study has been published by Elseiver in The Journal of Molecular Diagnosis and investigators provide a complete overview of biomarker testing, and multiple treatment lines.

In this study, the investigators have identified significant variation in test utilization and treatment. Their analysis included a detailed view of molecular and genetic tests results, the techniques used and turnaround time. Biomarker testing records of 102 stage IV NSCLC patients were reviewed and ninety-nine unique biomarker-test combinations were found in patients. The targeted gene panels for EGFR, ALK, BRAF V600E and ROS1 to predict response to lung cancer treatment were frequently conducted. The study revealed that multiple biomarker tests for NSCLC can result in unnecessary delays in the treatment. The substantial variation of biomarker tests suggests the possibility of inequities in access to tests and targeted therapy or immunotherapy.

Professor Maarten IJzerman, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands; and the University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research in Melbourne, Australia explained, “While there is a lot of interest in the use of real-world data to analyze treatment variation and outcomes, this study demonstrates the importance of identifying variation in the use of molecular tests as the gateway to most cancer treatments.”

“Perhaps the value of WGS should be seen in light of the reduction in the complexity of the diagnostic pathway, as it is unlikely that the cost of WGS will be competitive,” the authors write. “The value of reducing the complexity of the diagnostic pathway is an aspect of the value that WGS may provide but has not yet been explored in detail. It could be an exciting avenue for future research.”


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