Molecular Testing For Lung Cancer
- Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a powerful tool to help you and your doctor find the right treatment options for your lung cancer.
- NGS is usually done by taking a sample of your tumor or occasionally using a blood draw.
- It is recommended that NGS be done in all advanced lung cancers.
- Early-stage lung cancer patients should ask about NGS testing too.
- NGS results can determine if you are eligible for a targeted therapy or a clinical trial.
How Your Doctor May Use NGS Testing
NGS testing is a very powerful tool to look for mutations in people with lung cancer. If your doctor knows what mutations you have, they can identify an already-approved therapy or a targeted therapy that is right for you. NGS testing is considered the standard of care for the majority of advanced lung cancers. In early-stage lung cancer, you should talk to your doctor about NGS testing, too.Read More
How NGS Testing Guides Treatment Decisions and Prognosis
“If we do identify a specific mutation that we have a targeted therapy for, under many circumstances, that would be the first treatment that we would pose for a patient. If a patient was not determined to have a targetable mutation at the time of diagnosis, then we have other drugs that we can use, such as traditional chemotherapy or immunotherapy agents,” explains Dr. Scilla.
Once your doctor can assess your test results, they can provide you with more specific information on:
- Whether you would benefit from a targeted therapy
- If there is a targeted therapy available for you
- Find a clinical trial that might be right for you
“Several clinical trials include in their eligibility criteria, a specific mutation in a specific gene; your cancer molecular testing can identify these changes in the genetic makeup of cancer cells. And as such match your cancer and you as an individual with a clinical trial where an investigational targeted therapy is tested that may improve your outcome and overall survival,” explains Dr. Valsamo Anagnostou who is a thoracic oncologist and leader of the Johns Hopkins Molecular Tumor Board at The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.
You and your doctor should consider this information with other factors such as any contraindications of certain medications, interactions with other drugs, and side effects. Together you can make decisions about the next steps in your treatment, based on your NGS testing results.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Is next-generation sequencing (NGS) right for my lung cancer?
- How long will it take to get my NGS testing results?
- Do my NGS results indicate that I could be eligible for a targeted therapy?
- Am I more, or less, likely to respond to this treatment?
- Is there a clinical trial that would be relevant for me?