Dr. Sholl on Challenges With Using Tissue Biopsy for Biomarker Testing in Lung Cancer

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>Dana Farber</b>

Lynette M. Sholl, MD, discusses the challenges faced with the use of tissue biopsy to test for biomarkers in lung cancer.

Lynette M. Sholl, MD, chief of thoracic pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, discusses the challenges faced with the use of tissue biopsy to test for biomarkers in lung cancer.

One of the biggest challenges faced in the lung cancer space is the availability of tissue for complete biomarker characterization. Many times, patients will undergo minimally invasive procedures to obtain diagnostic tissue and those are typically small biopsies. One benefit to these procedures is that, because they are minimally invasive, patients experience a smaller number of adverse events in terms of bleeding or other complications.

However, the downside to this approach is that sometimes there is not enough material to work with in terms of detecting biomarkers, says Sholl. In fact, about 30% of tissue biopsies turn out to be insufficient in testing for biomarkers in patients with lung cancer. With the emergence of liquid biopsies, physicians may be able to overcome that challenge, concludes Sholl.