What Else Do I Need to Know About Getting My Tumor Tested?

What Size Tissue Sample Is Needed For Testing?
The more tissue the better. Tissue can be obtained thru bronchoscopy, lymph node biopsy, mediastinoscopy, CT guided core needle biopsy and via the VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) procedure.

Where Do I Go To Have My Tissue Tested?
Many academic centers currently offer comprehensive tumor testing. Outside of academic centers, testing can be done through various “CLIA-certified” companies and laboratories in the US. In the latter case, your local oncologist can have these tests ordered. Once ordered, the local hospital pathology department is responsible for sending your tumor tissue to the appropriate facility.

The Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium (LCMC) represents the largest national initiative to prospectively examine non-small cell lung cancer tumors, and match patients to the best possible therapies. Currently, the LCMC includes 16 leading cancer centers across the country.  The primary goal of the LCMC is to provide the most up-to-date care for lung cancer patients, while collecting valuable information about the frequency and characteristics of abnormalities found in lung tumors to further improve patient care for the entire lung cancer community.

How Long Does It Take To Get Results?
Approximately 1-2 weeks, but up to 1 month, depending on the availability of the tumor specimen for analysis and the amount and quality of the tumor in the biopsy. The tests themselves are relatively straightforward. The delay usually comes from the time it takes for the local hospital to locate your tumor specimen, to prepare the specimen for sending out to another facility, and then to actually send it. If your treatment is contingent on the test results, your doctor can request the test be expedited.

Are any blood tests available for testing my cancer?
VERISTRAT  is a serum (blood) test that can be performed on all advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients. The test does not require tissue and can quickly predict whether a patient is likely to benefit from taking Tarceva® or standard chemotherapy regimens, even if the patient does not have the EGFR mutation. It is also useful in situations where it is not possible to obtain actual tumor tissue for analysis.

If There Is Little Sample Available, What Would Be Most Important To Test?
Currently, because of the direct therapeutic implications, EGFR and ALK would be the priority, but you should consult with your doctor about the advisability of performing another biopsy to get additional tissue sample.