#CANCERSM Chat topic 11-Jul-2019: Basics of Biomarker Testing

Until just a few years ago, chemotherapy was often the only option for some cancer patients.  In just a few short years, molecular therapies and immunotherapies have become commonplace as treatments for cancer patients.  But determining whether a particular cancer patient is a candidate for these new, often very expensive, molecular and immunotherapies requires molecular biomarker testing.  For many cancer patients and their families, the role of molecular biomarker testing in their diagnosis is a unfamiliar and confusing.  How is testing performed?  How is the test result analyzed? What is involved in getting helpful answers from biomarker testing?  Does liquid biopsy have a role?

Pathologists are specialized doctors responsible for answering these questions.  They identify any cancer cells in the biopsied specimen, and guide the patient’s biomarker testing. Unfortunately, pathologists do not typically speak with patients, so patients and families–and even some doctors–often do not have a clear understanding of the role of molecular biomarker testing in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.  Learning more about the basics of biomarker testing can help patients and families cut through the hype about biomarker testing, understand the patient’s specific disease more thoroughly, and learn what biomarker test results mean to the patient’s cancer treatment.

Please join moderator and pathologist Dr. Timothy Craig Allen (@TimAllenMDJD) at 8 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, July 11, 2019, for a discussion about the basics of biomarker testing, a subject potentially affecting all cancer patients and doctors.  We will cover the following topics:

  • T1: What is a biomarker and how is it identified?
  • T2: What is biomarker testing and what is it used for?
  • T3: What treatment options can be identified through biomarker testing?
  • T4: What biomarker tests should be run for which types of cancers?  What is a liquid biopsy and when is useful?
  • T5: Can and should patients pursue biomarker testing for treatment options if their doctor does not offer it?

Please remember to include #cancersm in ALL your tweets so the other chat participants can see them. If you need a refresher, read the #LCSM primer on participating in a Twitter chat (the hashtag in your tweets will be #cancersm, not #LCSM). Note that some tweetchat apps (like tchat.io) will not display tweets longer than 140 characters. Hope you’ll join us!

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