Biomarker testing is used to select the optimal treatment for patients with metastatic cancer. Elsevier has communicated a press release on March 15 about a new study on the use of biomarker tests for lung cancer patients, led by professor Maarten IJzerman, Health Technology and Services Research. The corresponding article has been published open access in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. In that study, researchers find significant variation in the use and timing of biomarker tests for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
Using linked pathology data from multiple hospitals, the complete biomarker testing history for 102 stage IV NSCLC was reconstructed. The study reports for the first time a complete and detailed overview of biomarker testing, including costs, technique used, and turnaround times.
The current biomarker testing landscape in oncology is diverse and complex, indicated by the large variation in biomarker-test combinations. Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) has the potential to replace all DNA-based biomarker tests. In a setting where multiple biomarker tests are required for one patient (median of 7 in the study cohort), WGS could potentially add value by streamlining diagnostic workflows.
A cost comparison between the total cost per patient for biomarker testing and current and hypothetical costs of WGS shows that for most patients, WGS would be more expensive. Nonetheless, the downstream value that WGS can provide by improving the treatment decision is potentially much higher than purely the cost of diagnostic testing.
The study is part of the “Technology Assessment of Next-Generation Sequencing in Personalized Oncology” (TANGO), in which the added value of Next-Generation Sequencing, and in particular Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is investigated.
The article is “Real-World Utilization of Biomarker Testing for Patients with Advanced Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer in a Tertiary Referral Center and Referring Hospitals,” by Michiel van de Ven, Hendrik Koffijberg, Valesca Retèl, Kim Monkhorst, Egbert Smit, Wim van Harten, and Maarten IJzerman. Link to the original Elsevier press release.