Improving molecular testing and personalized medicine in non-small-cell lung cancer in Ontario

C. Lim, H.S. Sekhon, J.C. Cutz, D.M. Hwang, S. Kamel-Reid, R.F. Carter, G. da Cunha Santos, T. Waddell, M. Binnie, M. Patel, N. Paul, T. Chung, A. Brade, R. El-Maraghi, C. Sit, M.S. Tsao, N.B. Leighl

Abstract


Background

Although molecular testing has become standard in managing advanced nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer (nsclc), most patients undergo minimally invasive procedures, and the diagnostic tumour specimens available for testing are usually limited. A knowledge translation initiative to educate diagnostic specialists about sampling techniques and laboratory processes was undertaken to improve the uptake and application of molecular testing in advanced lung cancer.

Methods

A multidisciplinary panel of physician experts including pathologists, respirologists, interventional thoracic radiologists, thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists developed a specialty-specific education program, adapting international clinical guidelines to the local Ontario context. Expert recommendations from the program are reported here.

Results

Panel experts agreed that specialists procuring samples for lung cancer diagnosis should choose biopsy techniques that maximize tumour cellularity, and that conservation strategies to maximize tissue for molecular testing should be used in tissue processing. The timeliness of molecular reporting can be improved by pathologist-initiated reflex testing upon confirmation of nonsquamous nsclc and by prompt transportation of specimens to designated molecular diagnostic centres. To coordinate timely molecular testing and optimal treatment, collaboration and communication between all clinicians involved in diagnosing patients with advanced lung cancer are mandatory.

Conclusions

Knowledge transfer to diagnostic lung cancer specialists could potentially improve molecular testing and treatment for advanced lung cancer patients.


Keywords


Non-small-cell lung cancer; biomarkers; quality of care; knowledge translation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.24.3495






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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)