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Biomarkers Evolve for Treatment of Lung Cancers

Benjamin P. Levy, MD
Published Online:9:36 PM, Mon February 24, 2020

Benjamin P. Levy, MD, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and clinical director for the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital, discusses the role of biomarkers in the treatment landscape for patients with lung cancer.

More recently, physicians have gotten a firmer understanding of the genomic underpinnings of tumors, says Levy. This began with EGFR mutations and moved toward the ALK mutations. Most recently, Levy says we have learned there are other actionable mutations in lung cancer besides EGFR and ALK.

Other driver mutations in lung cancer induce RET rearrangements, NTRK fusions, and MET exon 14 skipping mutations. These are important for identifying appropriate genotype-directed therapies for patients with lung cancer.

In non–small cell lung cancer in particular, this is not a one-size-fits-all model, Levy notes. Patients should be categorized into distinct genomic subsets in which particular targeted therapies are known to outperform chemotherapy, he concludes.

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