Who and When to Test
Who to Test
There are a number of testing approaches to consider, and these approaches continue
to evolve as new biomarkers are discovered and our understanding of tumor biology
evolves. Currently, there can be a benefit to test tumors for biomarkers that may
be correlated with treatment response and outcomes. Many tumor types have specific
biomarkers, which have been associated with treatment prognosis and/or monitoring.
Examples include melanoma, CML, lymphomas, and breast, ovarian, lung, bladder, prostate,
cervical, and colorectal cancers.
While the patient's medical history, including factors such as age, gender, race,
and lifestyle characteristics (e.g., smoking habits)1
are all factors you may consider in who to test, in many instances, testing is the
only way to know if the patient has a biomarker that may have clinical applications
present. Without knowing a patient's personal clinical information, including genetic,
proteomic, and metabolomic characteristics, physicians may be left to trial-and-error
testing to find the right drug and dose for the patient's tumor.2
When to Test
In some types of cancer, tumor tissue from a patient may be obtained and tested
at the time of diagnosis and before treatment.1
This may help patients receive the right treatment at the right time. If testing
could not be performed during the initial diagnosis, it is still possible to use
the original preserved specimen to determine if a biomarker is present. Therefore,
initial specimen size is important to avoid additional biopsies.