The evolution of biomarkers informing therapy decisions began in 2004, when the FDA approved a medicine to treat EGFR mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Since then, researchers have identified more than 20 distinct mutations in driver genes that are specific to lung cancer, nine of which are treatable through FDA-approved therapy drugs: epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), ROS1, BRAF V600E, NTRK, MET, RET, and histological expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1).
Confirming a patient's biomarker status can open the door to precision medicine.
The molecular characterization of lung cancer has considerably changed the classification and treatment of these tumors, becoming an essential component of pathologic diagnosis and oncologic therapy decisions. The success of targeted anticancer therapies and new immunotherapy approaches has created a new paradigm of personalized therapy and has also led to accelerated development of new drugs for lung cancer treatment. Additional research is needed to identify and help treat the approximately one-third of lung cancer patients for whom biomarkers have yet to be identified.
This podcast focuses on clinically relevant cancer biomarkers as targets for therapy, as well as potential new targets for drug development. We speak in our first episode with Dr. David M. Waterhouse, who just moved to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, and until last month was the former Director of Clinical Research at Oncology-Hematology Care, in Cincinnati. We also talk about how these biomarkers are used in academic versus community hospitals. In our second episode, we will talk with Dr. Sinchita Roy Chowdhuri, a molecular pathologist from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, about what you didn’t know about actionable biomarkers for NSCLC.