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Expert Highlights Progress With Molecular Biomarkers in GI Cancers

Caroline Seymour
Published: Wednesday, Feb 28, 2018

Michael J. Pishvaian, MD, PhD

Michael J. Pishvaian, MD, PhD
Molecular biomarkers are gaining significance in the gastrointestinal (GI) cancer realm outside of HER2 overexpression, including BRCA, NTRK, PALB2, and microsatellite instability (MSI). Now, researchers are exploring how they can best be targeted—and how to optimally detect them.

State of the Science Summit™ on Gastrointestinal Cancers, Michael J. Pishvaian, MD, an oncologist at Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, discussed expanded testing for biomarkers, using liquid biopsies to predict response to treatment, and the importance of identifying increasingly specific subsets of GI cancers to make treatment decisions.

OncLive: What are the latest developments in precision medicine?

Pishvaian: What we are looking for are predictive biomarkers that lead us toward specific therapies. The term “actionability” is often used to describe a biomarker that predicts full responsiveness, or at least a high responsiveness to a certain therapy. Sometimes that therapy is approved and used in the cancer that is being treated, and sometimes it’s approved and used in a different cancer. Ultimately, that biomarker seems to have promise in the cancer you are treating.   
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