#LCSM Chat Topic 3/9: Test Tumors to Target Lung Cancer
Our topic for the next #LCSM Chat on Thursday, March 9th at 5 PM Pacific (8 PM Eastern) is “Test Tumors to Target Lung Cancer.”
Lung cancer treatments are evolving rapidly. Some newer treatments require testing to identify patients who are likely to respond to the drugs. The testing looks for certain biomarkers on the patient’s cancer tumors, like alterations in the tumor cells’ genes. Patients whose tumors test positive may be able to take approved targeted therapy drugs that are usually more effective and more tolerable than chemo.
A substantial percentage of non-small cell lung cancers do have gene alterations that can be treated with an approved or experimental targeted therapy. Approved targeted therapy drugs are available for alterations in three genes (EGFR, ALK, and ROS1), and drugs for other gene alterations are available in clinical trials. Other types of lung cancer may have available targeted therapy drugs as well. For some biomarkers, a clinical trial may be the best treatment option.
Unfortunately, a December 2016 study found about 40% of patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer treated in a community setting aren’t getting tested for even the top two biomarkers with approved drugs (EGFR and ALK). That’s why campaigns such as “Tell a Friend About Tumor Testing” and “Precision Medicine for Me” seek to encourage lung cancer patients to learn about tumor testing.
All lung cancer patients should ask their lung cancer specialist about tumor testing and targeted therapy options. If your doctor is not current on available targeted therapies, seek a second opinion with a lung cancer specialist or a major cancer center.
Moderator Janet Freeman-Daily (@JFreemanDaily) will use the following topic questions to lead our discussion:
- T1: What exactly is tumor testing for lung cancer? Who should have it, and why is it important?
- T2: What is targeted therapy? If you’ve had targeted therapy for lung cancer, what was it like?
- T3: What questions should patients ask their lung cancer doctors about tumor testing and targeted therapies?
- T4: If my doctor doesn’t test my tumor, what should I do?
- T5: What resources are available to help patients and carers learn more about lung cancer tumor testing & targeted therapy?
Please remember to include #LCSM in ALL your tweets so the other chat participants can see them. You can read a primer on participating in the chat here. Hope you’ll join us!