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In-House Molecular Profiling Becomes Increasingly Important for Lung Cancers

Timothy F. Burns, MD, PhD
Published Online:8:50 PM, Wed June 12, 2019

Timothy F. Burns, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, discusses the value of conducting next-generation sequencing (NGS) in-house for patients with lung cancer compared with sending out to an external laboratory for molecular profiling results. Burns says he conducts NGS testing on all patients with metastatic and nonsquamous lung cancers. This includes patients that are both smokers and non-smokers.

Receiving results from NGS panels earlier has become increasingly important as more data emerges for targeted agents. Burns says physicians used to start patients on therapy before getting the results. However, now that immunotherapy is being incorporated into the frontline setting, starting patients on therapy prior to understanding the molecular profile can be detrimental in select patient subgroups, such as those harboring an EGFR or ALK translocation who may benefit more from initial treatment with a targeted therapy.

The issue with sending out requests for NGS panels to be done is that there can be delays in receiving the results. By conducting in-house testing, physicians can receive the results within a more reasonable time frame. Burns says this can help in applying the right actionable targeted therapies to patients with lung cancer sooner, and the value of this becomes more apparent as more data come out.
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