Precision medicine (also known as personalized medicine) uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. Precision medicine includes the use of biomarkers, molecular testing, and targeted therapies to deliver a personalized approach to cancer therapy through the use of molecular and genomic information about individual cancers. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) defines precision medicine as “discovering unique therapies that treat an individual’s cancer based on the specific abnormalities of their tumor.”
Identification of actionable biomarkers continues to drive application of precision medicine in oncology. For patients with lung cancer, molecularly targeted therapies based on expression of specific biomarkers may be potential treatment options. Only through biomarker testing can clinicians discover whether lung cancers have targetable biomarkers.
Despite increasing evidence supporting the role of biomarkers in treatment decision-making for patients with lung cancer, recent studies report that more than 70 percent of patients treated in the community do not receive biomarker testing as recommended by National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) clinical practice guidelines, and more than 50 percent of patients do not receive appropriate precision medicine therapies based on the test results. Among underserved patient populations, the gap is even wider. Analysis of CMS claims data has revealed that Medicaid patients are 40 percent less likely to get tested than patients with private health insurance and Medicaid patients are 30 percent less likely to receive targeted therapies after testing, compared to patients with private health insurance.
As the precision medicine landscape evolves, ACCC supports the multidisciplinary cancer care team with education in the following areas:
Quality Improvement in Breast Cancer Through BRCA Testing
Integration of Pathology with the Cancer Care Team
NCCN Policy Report: Developments in Molecular Testing and Biosimilars (requires login)
Winckworth-Prejsnar K, Nardi EA, Lentz L, et al. NCCN Policy Report: Developments in Molecular Testing and Biosimilars. J Natl Compr Cancer Netw. 2017;15(6):772-782.
Biomarker Tests for Molecularly Targeted Therapies: Key to Unlocking Precision Medicine
Craig LA, Phillips JK, Moses HL. (eds.) Biomarker Tests for Molecularly Targeted Therapies: Key to Unlocking Precision Medicine. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2016.
ACCC and CAP TODAY webinar: CAP/AMP/IASLC Guidelines for NSCLC: Current Experience and Future Update Four national thought-leaders examine current guidelines, planned updates, and provide expert feedback on the impact of these guidelines on practices.
This webinar was originally broadcast on Nov. 30, 2016.