Conference Coverage

Lung cancer in 2030: Expand genotyping



In recent years, patients with advanced lung cancer have benefited from the advent of immune therapies and genotype-directed therapies –both of which have led to improved survival rates. But what will lung cancer look like in 2030?

Pasi A. Janne, MD, PhD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, hopes to see improved access to tumor and blood-based genotyping.

Dr. Janne, who serves as director of the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology at Dana-Farber, gave a keynote presentation at the 2022 European Lung Cancer Congress, where he highlighted the need to broaden the scope of targeted therapies, make “great drugs work even better,” improve the ability to treat patients based on risk level, and expand the use of targeted therapies in the adjuvant and neoadjuvant setting to make significant progress in the treatment lung cancer treatment in coming years.

Genotyping is underutilized, he said. A 2019 multicenter study reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology showed that only 54% of 1,203 patients underwent testing for EGFR mutations, 22% were tested for EGFR, ALK, ROS1, and BRAF mutations, and only 7% were tested for all biomarkers recommended by National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines at the time.

That study also showed that only 45% of patients received biomarker-driven treatment, even when driver mutations were detected.

“Immunotherapy was often prescribed instead of targeted therapy, even when molecular results were available,” Dr. Janne said.

Another study, reported at the 2021 ASCO annual meeting, showed some improvement in testing rates, but still, only 37% of patients were tested for all biomarkers as recommended.

Racial disparities in testing have also been observed. Bruno and colleagues found that any next-generation sequencing was performed in 50.1% of White patients, compared with 39.8% of black patients, and NGS prior to first-line therapy was performed in 35.5% and 25.8%, respectively.

The study, also reported at ASCO in 2021, showed that trial participation was observed among 3.9% of White patients and 1.9% of Black patients.

“The studies really highlight the need for increased testing rates and appropriate utilization of testing results to deliver optimal care to our patients with advanced lung cancer. We have a long way to go. To live the promise and appreciate the promise of precision therapy ... we need to be able to offer this testing to all of our patients with lung cancer,” he said.

Dr. Janne reported relationships with numerous pharmaceutical companies, including consulting, research support and stock ownership. He also receives postmarketing royalties from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute–owned intellectual property on EGFR mutations.

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