Dr. McKenzie on Navigating the Landscape of Biomarker Testing in NSCLC

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Andrew McKenzie, PhD, discusses the variety of molecular testing modalities in patients with metastatic non–small cell lung cancer.

Andrew McKenzie, PhD, Vice President of Personalized Medicine at Sarah Cannon and Scientific Director at Genospace, discusses the variety of molecular testing modalities in patients with metastatic non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The field of biomarker testing in NSCLC is evolving just as rapidly as the number of approved targeted therapies, McKenzie says. Current FDA guidelines still support broad-based next-generation sequencing (NGS) as the preferred methodology for NSCLC biomarker testing. In the event that a DNA-based diagnostic is proven ineffective, a RNA-based assay is advised for subsequent testing.

Single-gene tests or companion diagnostics approved with a drug can potentially be utilized to identify specific mutations, McKenzie continues. However, sequential single gene testing quickly exhausts all available tumor tissueand is considered highly time consuming. Conversely, broad-based NGS panels are faster and more cost-effective, making them a more advantageous option.

Navigating the variety of personalized testing options can be complicated for practitioners, but the field is moving toward a more streamlined approach. Many NGS vendors are also companion diagnostics for NSCLC targeted therapies, McKenzie notes. Consolidating current testing options into a single comprehensive assay will allow for earlier diagnosis and management, and a more appropriate selection of treatment strategies.

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