DENVER - Implementation of molecular profiling is essential for the multidisciplinary team to effectively manage and care for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients now and well into the future.
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) education teams will travel to various geographical locations within their regions in order to teach others the importance of and how to implement molecular testing using small group interactive learning sessions and hands-on approaches. The educational team will consist of medical oncologists, surgeons, pulmonologists, interventional radiologists, pathologists, nurses, laboratory personnel, molecular biologists, cytogeneticists, bioinformaticists and other scientists.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality for both men and women in the US and worldwide. Grouping all lung cancers together is no longer adequate for treatment-based decisions. Personalized medicine, treating the patient with therapies that are predicted to be effective based on the molecular characteristics of the tumor, can add years of life for those patients whose tumor harbor specific abnormalities and treated with a therapy specifically targeting this abnormality. Advanced-stage NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations or ALK rearrangements have a high response rate and increased progression-free survival when treated 1st-line with EGFR or ALK inhibitors, respectively, and within these categories there are approved agents. Testing for these two genomic alterations is now considered the standard of care for advanced-stage NSCLC. Additionally, these is a growing body of evidence from that supports the testing for other molecular aberrations (e.g. ROS1, BRAF, FGFR1, HER2, PIK3CA, MET and KRAS) as these are thought to be the oncogenic drivers of NSCLC and will be sensitive to therapies targeting these abnormalities.
The goal of IASLC's new program is to educate the multidisciplinary team on:
- The molecular pathways and the rationale for using molecular markers for NSCLC therapy.
- Application of optimal practices for acquisition, processing, handling, and managing specimens from lung cancer patients.
- Who should be tested?
- When molecular testing should be performed?
- Methodologies for molecular testing and associated reagents.
- Evaluation and scoring of molecular tests.
- Validation of molecular tests.
- Clear and effective communication between all members of the lung cancer multidisciplinary team and the importance of understanding molecular testing before the specimen is even collected.
"About 225,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the US every year. Molecular profiling of tumors from patients with lung cancer is crucial today for selecting the most optimal therapy," states Professor Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, University of Colorado and CEO of IASLC. "IASLC is a global academic organization with a main focus of education for the lung cancer community, e. g. doctors, nurses, allied health personnel and the patients, about the most updated scientific knowledge and the standard of care for patients with lung cancer. This program is an important contribution to meet that goal, and we hope this program will reach many care-takers dealing with lung cancer, both in academic centers and in the communities."
"The IASLC has been on the forefront of promoting research and education related to lung cancer for over four decades," states Dr. Suresh Ramalingam, Chair of the IASLC Education Committee. "The overarching goal of this initiative is to ensure that every patient with lung cancer undergoes molecular testing according to the most recent guidelines in order to maximize clinical outcomes."
About the IASLC:
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes more than 4,000 lung cancer specialists in 80 countries. To learn more about IASLC please visit http://www.