Dr. Levy on the Benefits of Liquid Biopsies in NSCLC

Benjamin P. Levy, MD
Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2019



Benjamin P. Levy, MD, assistant professor of oncology, clinical director of Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine, discusses the benefits of liquid biopsies in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

There has been a significant paradigm shift in the therapies offered to patients with oncogene-driven NSCLC, Levy says. This has been predicated on a better understanding of the genomic underpinnings of tumors. It is well known that EGFR, ALK, BRAF, and ROS1 are actionable mutations in NSCLC, but rarer alterations like MET exon 14 skipping mutations and NTRK fusions are also emerging.

The question now is whether tissue or liquid biopsies should be the standard method of detection. Research suggests that the latter has higher sensitivity for these rarer mutations. Obtaining tissue from patients, as well as completing the molecular analysis, is sometimes a major challenge. Levy notes that physicians only have 1 chance at getting the genomic profiling right, so it is critical to have a platform like a liquid biopsy.
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Benjamin P. Levy, MD, assistant professor of oncology, clinical director of Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine, discusses the benefits of liquid biopsies in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

There has been a significant paradigm shift in the therapies offered to patients with oncogene-driven NSCLC, Levy says. This has been predicated on a better understanding of the genomic underpinnings of tumors. It is well known that EGFR, ALK, BRAF, and ROS1 are actionable mutations in NSCLC, but rarer alterations like MET exon 14 skipping mutations and NTRK fusions are also emerging.

The question now is whether tissue or liquid biopsies should be the standard method of detection. Research suggests that the latter has higher sensitivity for these rarer mutations. Obtaining tissue from patients, as well as completing the molecular analysis, is sometimes a major challenge. Levy notes that physicians only have 1 chance at getting the genomic profiling right, so it is critical to have a platform like a liquid biopsy.



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