Tumor Testing & Precision Medicine

Target Your Cancer

A cancer diagnosis can produce great uncertainty. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, you might feel overwhelmed by all of the questions you have and all of the information you are being given. However, information is the key to finding options in your fight against cancer.

One of the newest and most advanced ways to help physicians assess your options is to identify the biomarker “targets” that are specific to your cancer. Tumor profiling, also called next gen sequencing or molecular profiling, makes finding these targets possible.

Tumor Profiling

Tumor profiling, which is a term that emerged from the Human Genome Project, is an alternative to the one-size-fits-all approach to cancer treatment and uses a focused approach to treatment that specifically targets an individual patient’s tumor. Most importantly, the type of personalized cancer care brought about by tumor profiling may increase the likelihood that patients will benefit from cancer therapy.

Tumor profiling marks an important step forward in oncology and reflects a trend toward personalized cancer care. Southern Cancer Center uses tumor profiling to identify the specific genetic aspects of a person’s tumor, called biomarkers, which we can then potentially target. Targeting a tumor means attacking attributes of the tumor that are allowing it to grow and spread, and customizing a treatment plan specifically designed to alter the growth and development of that specific tumor. This enhances the possibility that the patient may respond favorably to therapy.

Tumor profiling helps us to know which treatments are more likely to be effective, as well as those that may not be effective, and it can also help us to identify important treatment options that might not have otherwise been considered. This approach is also expected to reduce the staggering healthcare costs connected to the disease. If the right therapy gets to the right patient, then the patient avoids potential side effects associated with a therapy that will not help them, and also the cost of ineffective therapy.

How Tumor Profiling Works

Tumor profiling begins with an analysis of a tumor and the biomarkers or “targets.” The information can then be matched to published studies from the world’s leading cancer researchers to identify therapies with a potentially higher likelihood of clinical benefit, as well as therapies that may be unlikely to create benefit. Since new research in cancer and biomarkers continually emerges, a medical and scientific literature search that correlates biomarker expression to therapy is critically important because it identifies some of the latest biomarkers and drug information from the relevant current medical literature.  This ensures physicians are working with the latest and most relevant medical information as they make treatment decisions with their patients.

How It Can Help You 

This type of testing is well suited for people affected by a wide variety of cancers, including people with aggressive disease, rare cancers, those with limited treatment options and those who may have multiple options to choose from.

While some of our patients have seen their cancer treated successfully with targeted therapy, others have benefited from increased progression-free survival rates (time during which the cancer did not grow or spread) and improved quality of life, both of which are very important factors to patients with advanced forms of the disease.

Through tumor profiling, we are able to increase the possibility that our patients will respond favorably to therapy and avoid the potential side effects and the costs associated with a therapy that may be less likely to help the patient.

How We Can Help

Southern Cancer Center is leading the way in our area using tumor profiling. This state-of-the-art service is helping our physicians and staff to learn more about patient tumors and gain a better understanding of their best treatment options.

Who is Eligible for Tumor Profiling

Tumor profiling may be helpful for a wide variety of solid tumors and you may be a good candidate if: you have an aggressive or advanced cancer, you have not been responsive to therapy, you have a rare cancer, you are facing limited treatment options, or you and your doctor are exploring treatment options but the best treatment plan is not clear. Contact our office at 251.625.6896 to determine if you are a good candidate.

Is Tumor Profiling Covered by Insurance

Medicare and other insurance providers typically reimburse the cost for this service. The laboratory we use for tumor profiling will bill your insurance company. Contact our office at 251.625.6896 to see of your plan covers tumor profiling.

Glossary

Tumor Profiling – Examines the genetic and molecular changes unique to a patient’s tumor so that treatment options may be matched to the tumor’s molecular profile. This service helps us create a cancer treatment plan based on the tumor tested. By comparing the tumor’s information with data from published clinical studies by thousands of the world’s leading cancer researchers, tumor profiling can help us determine which treatments are potentially effective and, just as important, which treatments are potentially ineffective.

Biomarkers – The word “biomarker” can refer to many different compounds in the body that indicate something about your health. When people refer to cancer biomarkers, they are usually referring to proteins, genes and other molecules at the genetic and molecular level that affect how cancer cells grow, multiply, die and respond to other compounds in the body. Biomarkers provide a number of key indicators to doctors and their patients. The discovery of biomarkers across multiple tumor types has unlocked new information about cancer biology by providing critical insights to biological, pathogenic and pharmacologic responses to treatment. Some tumor types may have a number of biomarkers associated with them.

Tumor Profiling – Tumor profiling, involves the testing of a person’s individual tumor to determine its genetic and molecular structure. The genetic and molecular structure of a tumor is unique to each patient. The information derived from tumor profiling identifies specific biomarkers that can be targeted with potential more effective treatments. Equally important, the information may prevent the use of treatments known to be ineffective. 

Personalized Cancer Care – Personalized cancer care is based on the concept that each person’s cancer is unique. Treatment that works for one person may be completely ineffective for the other person. With personalized cancer care we may be able to identify of the right biomarker or “target” associated with a person’s unique cancer and create a personalized a treatment plan based tailored to each patient.