Molecular testing strategies in non-small cell lung cancer: Optimizing the diagnostic journey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Molecular testing identifies patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who may benefit from targeted therapy or immunotherapy (i.e., immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment for patients with high tumor mutational burden (TMB), microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair-deficient tumors). Current guidelines state that molecular testing should be conducted at the time of initial diagnosis and tumor progression on targeted therapy. In real-world clinical practice in the United States (US), molecular testing is often not conducted or happens late in the diagnostic journey, resulting in delayed or inappropriate treatment. Herein, we review the rationale for molecular testing in advanced NSCLC, along with best-practice guidelines based on published recommendations and our own clinical experience, including a case study. We propose three strategies to optimize molecular testing in newly diagnosed patients with advanced NSCLC: (I) pulmonologists, interventional radiologists, or thoracic surgeons order molecular tests as soon as advanced NSCLC with an adenocarcinoma component is suspected; (II) liquid biopsies conducted early in the diagnostic pathway; and (III) pathologist-directed reflex testing, as conducted in other areas of oncology. To help facilitate these strategies, we outline our recommendations for optimal sample collection techniques and stewardship. In summary, we believe that implementation of these individual strategies will allow clinicians to effectively leverage available treatment options for advanced NSCLC, reducing the time to optimal treatment and improving patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-301
Number of pages16
JournalTranslational Lung Cancer Research
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

Fingerprint

Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma
Practice Guidelines
Therapeutics
Microsatellite Instability
DNA Mismatch Repair
Tumor Burden
Immunotherapy
Reflex
Neoplasms
Adenocarcinoma
Thorax
Guidelines
Biopsy

Keywords

  • Carcinoma
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Medical oncology
  • Molecular diagnostic techniques
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  • Pathologists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

Cite this

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title = "Molecular testing strategies in non-small cell lung cancer: Optimizing the diagnostic journey",
abstract = "Molecular testing identifies patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who may benefit from targeted therapy or immunotherapy (i.e., immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment for patients with high tumor mutational burden (TMB), microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair-deficient tumors). Current guidelines state that molecular testing should be conducted at the time of initial diagnosis and tumor progression on targeted therapy. In real-world clinical practice in the United States (US), molecular testing is often not conducted or happens late in the diagnostic journey, resulting in delayed or inappropriate treatment. Herein, we review the rationale for molecular testing in advanced NSCLC, along with best-practice guidelines based on published recommendations and our own clinical experience, including a case study. We propose three strategies to optimize molecular testing in newly diagnosed patients with advanced NSCLC: (I) pulmonologists, interventional radiologists, or thoracic surgeons order molecular tests as soon as advanced NSCLC with an adenocarcinoma component is suspected; (II) liquid biopsies conducted early in the diagnostic pathway; and (III) pathologist-directed reflex testing, as conducted in other areas of oncology. To help facilitate these strategies, we outline our recommendations for optimal sample collection techniques and stewardship. In summary, we believe that implementation of these individual strategies will allow clinicians to effectively leverage available treatment options for advanced NSCLC, reducing the time to optimal treatment and improving patient outcomes.",
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AB - Molecular testing identifies patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who may benefit from targeted therapy or immunotherapy (i.e., immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment for patients with high tumor mutational burden (TMB), microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair-deficient tumors). Current guidelines state that molecular testing should be conducted at the time of initial diagnosis and tumor progression on targeted therapy. In real-world clinical practice in the United States (US), molecular testing is often not conducted or happens late in the diagnostic journey, resulting in delayed or inappropriate treatment. Herein, we review the rationale for molecular testing in advanced NSCLC, along with best-practice guidelines based on published recommendations and our own clinical experience, including a case study. We propose three strategies to optimize molecular testing in newly diagnosed patients with advanced NSCLC: (I) pulmonologists, interventional radiologists, or thoracic surgeons order molecular tests as soon as advanced NSCLC with an adenocarcinoma component is suspected; (II) liquid biopsies conducted early in the diagnostic pathway; and (III) pathologist-directed reflex testing, as conducted in other areas of oncology. To help facilitate these strategies, we outline our recommendations for optimal sample collection techniques and stewardship. In summary, we believe that implementation of these individual strategies will allow clinicians to effectively leverage available treatment options for advanced NSCLC, reducing the time to optimal treatment and improving patient outcomes.

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