There are certain diseases, like lung cancer, that are leading the way in precision medicine and where broad molecular testing is recommended, said W. Michael Korn, MD, of University of California, San Francisco, and Caris Life Sciences.
There are certain diseases, like lung cancer, that are leading the way in precision medicine and where broad molecular testing is recommended, said W. Michael Korn, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco, and chief medical officer of Caris Life Sciences.
Are there certain cancers where we’ve made more progress using precision medicine to make treatment decisions compared with other cancers?
Absolutely. I think what has turned out is there are certain clinical scenarios and diseases where there is lots of opportunity, lots of already existing data and those areas pave the road, I think for, you know, other disease settings that are following. And the best example is really lung cancer, where—first of all, it is one of the most frequent cancer types, affecting over 200,000 people in the United States every year—but we have learned a lot about the molecular features of this disease. And so, we’re not looking at lung cancer as one disease anymore. We’re looking at segments of the disease that have all the different types of treatments associated with them. And this has become standard now. The NCCN [National Comprehensive Cancer Network] guidelines recommend broad molecular testing for lung cancer, because of that complexity, and we know that this improves outcomes.
Other diseases are following. Like, I’ll give you an example: breast cancer, colorectal cancer are other big disease groups where this is following. So, we will see a kind of steady development until, in my opinion, it becomes standard to test every cancer being diagnosed right up front when the patient presents himself, at least in the advanced disease setting, to the oncologist.
Have we made more progress in solid tumors compared with liquid tumors?
These are kind of somewhat different worlds. There has been clearly tremendous progress on the side of solid tumor, kind of molecularly guided therapy. I think the hematologic world is following, but it depends very much on what aspect of hematology you’re looking at. So, certainly, in diseases like AML [acute myeloid leukemia], recurrent AML, we are still looking for a similar approach. Whereas in others, in lymphomas and so on, there might be already very established linkage between certain molecular findings and treatments.