A recently published study led by researchers from the University of Manchester in the UK has shown that utilizing a new test that genetically profiles lung cancer (LC) samples could possibly allow doctors to more easily identify the most effective treatment for individual patients. The study, entitled, “Diagnostic Mutation Profiling and Validation of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Small Biopsy Samples using a High Throughput Platform,” was published in the latest edition of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.
According to the World Health Organization, LC is a leading cause of death worldwide. The most common type of LC is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), accounting for upwards of 80% of the known cases. Cancer arises from a mutation in a single cell and the recent therapeutic trend is to use targeted therapies for the specific mutations that are causing a patient’s disease. Unfortunately, current genetic analysis methods such as next generation sequencing require relatively large amounts of tumor material to assess the specific mutations.
In an effort to decrease the amount of tissue necessary to make a proper diagnosis for each patient the investigators utilized the LungCarta platform to screen tumor samples from 90 NSCLC patients. The results showed that in half of the samples tested, specific genetic mutations were detected. There detections could then lead to individualized therapies for patients in the clinic.
In a University press release about the study, Dr Fiona Blackhall, a senior lecturer at The University of Manchester’s Institute of Cancer Sciences, consultant at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust’s Manchester Cancer Research Centre, and senior study author, stated “Unfortunately the biopsy samples we take from these patients are generally quite small. In this study we looked at an alternative genetic screen that utilizes a much smaller tissue biopsy to see if it can detect a range of changes in 26 key genes.”
Dr. Blackhall continued “This type of genetic testing appears to be a clinically useful diagnostic screening test that can be used on small biopsy samples. This should allow us to better match lung cancer patients to the right treatment and we have now started to use this method of testing to identify suitable clinical trials for our patients.”