Bio-markers & Molecular Testing​

It is important for patients to know and understand their tumour type because it informs their treatment options.
During diagnosis, there are two types of tests which can be done to test for certain changes (mutations) to the genes of the cancer cells; a biopsy which involves removing tissue from the tumour to be tested; and a blood test, known as a liquid biopsy or plasma test. These markers can predict how well a non-small cell cancer may respond to specific treatments and help your doctor to determine what treatment will work best for you.

There are many common tumour types, but the most common mutations for non-small cell lung cancer are:

ALK

BRAF

EGFR

NTRK

PD-L1

ROS1

Why knowing your personal bio-marker is important Although chemotherapy remains the standard of care for most patients, there has been a shift toward personalized therapy with increased understanding of the molecular diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. This has been realized by the identification of a number of actionable mutations that are revolutionizing therapy for patients with these mutations. Molecular testing is proven to more effectively treat advanced stages of lung cancer by personalizing treatments to the specific type and genomic profile of the cancer. What you need to know
  • The best time to talk to your doctor about tumour testing is before a biopsy is done
  • Tell your doctor you want to talk about comprehensive genomic testing
  • If your tumour wasn’t tested before you started treatment, it might not be too late—ask your doctor about testing leftover tissue or doing a liquid biopsy (blood draw)
What to ask
  • Has a sample of my tumour been sent for molecular testing?
  • What (if any) mutations were found in my biopsy sample?
  • What are my treatment options? Am I a candidate for bio-marker testing?
  • Should my cancer be tested for other mutations?
  • What is the goal of targeted therapy?
For more information on molecular testing and bio-markers click here. For a list of questions to ask your doctor about bio-marker testing, click here.
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