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The Critical Role of Biomarker Testing

The Critical Role of Biomarker Testing

Doctor standing and addressing patient in bed

The Critical Role of Biomarker Testing

Addressing the gaps in this underutilized but critical component of comprehensive cancer screening

Cancer testing involves more than being told, “we need to screen for cancer.” Patient advocacy groups are bringing increased focus to biomarker testing, an underutilized form of testing that is just as important after diagnosis as screening. Biomarker testing involves evaluating tumor cells – usually from a biopsy of the tumor, but sometimes from a blood test – and is the first step in precision medicine. Comprehensive biomarker testing allows oncologists to see if the tumor has biological molecules called biomarkers that are signs of mutations or overexpression/amplification that cause the cancer to grow and spread. Knowing if a tumor has specific biomarkers can help doctors determine the best treatment for a patient or monitor their response to a medicine.

We want all people with lung cancer to have the best possible outcomes, and we view biomarker testing as crucial to that goal. Dr. Amy Moore, Vice President of Global Engagement and Patient Partnerships at LUNGevity Foundation, agrees. “Not all lung cancers are the same,” explained Dr. Moore. “Everyone diagnosed with lung cancer has the right to better understand their disease by testing for all relevant biomarkers for their type and stage of lung cancer.” 

We’ve spoken with patients about their biomarker testing experiences and have worked with several of our patient advocacy partners, including LUNGevity, to better understand the barriers so we can come together to develop solutions.

The Impact of Biomarker Testing: One Woman’s Experience
"When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I didn't know there were specific types of lung cancer and biomarkers. I didn't even know what a biomarker was or that there was a mutation,” Sarina said. “After I went through biomarker testing, my oncologist sat down with me and explained the results. This is such a scary diagnosis and having the knowledge and research at your hands is important to process how you're going to deal with cancer going forward.”

Ultimately, Sarina credits biomarker testing with leading her to a targeted treatment that put her disease into remission. “While every patient’s experience is different, biomarker testing is what stood between my terminal stage four diagnosis and remission,” Sarina said.

Efforts to Educate and Raise Awareness
Sarina’s story is not uncommon: many patients have shared with us they were not aware of biomarker testing. That’s why Daiichi Sankyo has become a member of the No One Missed campaign from LUNGevity, designed to build awareness of comprehensive biomarker testing and empower patients with NSCLC.

“We encourage people with lung cancer to Talk, Test, Treat, which means talking to your healthcare team about performing comprehensive biomarker testing and reviewing your results with your doctor to give you the information you need to develop an individualized treatment plan together,” said Dr. Moore.

Help Spread the Word
Researchers are continually making progress to develop more precise medicines for lung cancer. To make sure these medicines get to the right patients, and help the most people, we need to improve biomarker testing rates. Learn more about biomarker testing at LUNGevity.org and share information about biomarker testing with your loved ones. Together, we can help spread awareness and educate around the importance of biomarker testing.

 

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