Clinical indicators have a crucial role in the detection and management of breast cancer. Three molecular biomarkers for breast cancer serve as the cornerstone for prognostic information and therapy response prediction, which optimizes clinical decision-making.
These indicators include the progesterone receptor (PR), the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), and the estrogen receptor (ER). Biomarker status is now assessed in clinical practice by histological examination of immunohistochemistry (IHC) stained tissue using distinct IHC stains for each biomarker.
What does cancer therapy biomarker testing entail?
Testing for biomarkers is a means to find genes, proteins, and other components (also known as tumor markers or biomarkers) that can provide cancer information. A distinct set of biomarkers characterizes each person’s cancer. The effectiveness of some cancer therapy is influenced by several biomarkers. You and your doctor may pick a cancer therapy together with the aid of biomarker testing.
Medical experts can also use additional kinds of biomarkers to help in cancer diagnosis, therapy, and follow-up. For further information, see the fact sheet on tumor markers.
Only cancer patients are eligible for biomarker testing. Blood cancer patients and those with solid tumors can both undergo biomarker testing. A biomarker test may be referred to as a companion diagnostic test if it is utilized in combination with a certain treatment.
Genetic testing to determine if a person has inherited mutations that increase their risk of developing cancer is distinct from biomarker testing. You receive them from your parents.
How are cancer treatments chosen using biomarker tests?
You and your doctor can choose the best cancer treatment for you with the aid of biomarker tests. Certain cancer medications, such as targeted therapies and immunotherapies, could only be effective for patients whose tumors exhibit particular biomarkers.
For instance, EGFR inhibitors are medications that are given to patients with cancer that have specific genetic alterations in the EGFR gene. An EGFR gene mutation that can be treated with an EGFR inhibitor in this situation can be discovered by biomarker testing on a patient’s cancer.
You might be eligible to enroll in a clinical trial for a novel cancer treatment with the assistance of biomarker testing. As opposed to where in the body cancer first developed, some studies recruit participants depending on the biomarkers in their disease. These are referred to as basket trials at times.
Biomarker testing is an integral component of the research for various other clinical studies. Biomarker testing, for instance, is being used in trials like NCI-MATCH and NCI-COG Pediatric MATCH to match patients to therapies based on the genetic alterations in their tumors.
Use the Find Clinical Trial search tool to see if there are any open studies for which you could be qualified. or ask for assistance from the Cancer Information Service.
Does precision medicine include the use of biomarkers?
Yes, the testing of biomarkers is a crucial component of precision medicine, also known as personalized medicine. Precision medicine is a method of treating patients that tailors illness prevention, diagnosis, and therapy to the genes, proteins, and other components of the patient’s body.
Precision medicine refers to the use of biomarkers and other tests to identify the therapies that are most likely to be helpful for you while sparing you from receiving those that are not. Although the concept of precision medicine is not new, current developments in science and technology have helped to accelerate this field of study. Scientists now recognize that the genes, proteins, and other components of cancer cells can undergo a wide range of modifications that cause the cells to proliferate and spread. The fact that even two persons with the same sort of cancer may not have the same alterations in their disease is another thing they have learned. Some of these alterations have an impact on how some cancer therapies function.
Although advancements in research are being made every day, most patients still do not receive routine care using the precision medicine approach to cancer therapy. But it’s crucial to remember that even the “standard” method of treating cancer—choosing therapies depending on the kind of cancer you have, how big it is, and if it has spread—is efficient and tailored to each patient.
Is biomarker testing necessary before choosing my cancer treatment?
If you want to know if biomarker testing for cancer therapy should be a part of your treatment, talk to your doctor. Doctors often advise genomic biomarker testing (also known as genomic profiling) for patients with advanced cancer, which is cancer that has progressed or returned after therapy.
When a person is diagnosed with a particular form of cancer, such as non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, or colorectal cancer, biomarker testing is also frequently done to help determine the best course of therapy.
It’s a good idea to inquire about the availability of cancer biomarker testing from your health insurance company. Not every hospital offers biomarker testing.