Molecular Testing Used for Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Rogerio C. Lilenbaum, MD, discusses molecular panels and other testing for patients with nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer.

Rogerio C. Lilenbaum, MD, director of the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses molecular panels and other testing for patients with nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Lilenbaum believes that every patient in this setting should have a molecular panel done and PD-L1 testing, which he thinks should be done in all patients regardless of histology. The molecular panel could be for patients who are not nonsquamous if they are atypical, such as patients who have never smoked or only smoked briefly.

The way physicians order a molecular panel is a controversial topic, according to Lilenbaum. Large academic institutions may have their own panels, which means they can do the panel for the patient quickly. For smaller community oncology centers, they will usually work with a hospital or the companies that perform these tests specifically.

A tissue-based molecular profile is not the only way to look at a patient’s molecular profile, though. Lilenbaum says this has been the standard until recently, but now physicians can look at circulating tumor DNA through peripheral blood testing. At the moment, for most molecular alterations, physicians can rely on the liquid biopsy results.

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