Biomarker Testing ‘Vital’ to Identify Best Treatments for Lung Cancer

For patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), getting comprehensive biomarker testing is important, an expert told CURE®.

Dr. Chul Kim, thoracic medical oncologist at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate professor at Georgetown University, spoke with CURE® about the recent Food and Drug Administration approval of Rybrevant plus chemotherapy for patients with NSCLC and EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations.

He emphasized that this approval was “groundbreaking” in this lung cancer subset, as it introduced a new treatment option for this patient population. He also encouraged patients with EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations to speak with their oncologists about the type of alterations they may have and their “potential implications.”

READ MORE: Next-Generation Sequencing Helps ‘Select the Best Treatment’ for Lung Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, biomarker testing is a way to identify genes, proteins and biomarkers that can offer doctors insight about the cancer. Biomarkers are different in each person with cancer, so testing may help doctors and patients select the most appropriate and beneficial treatment possible. Types of biomarker testing may include genetic and genomic testing.

Specifically, detecting any present genomic alterations in the tumor “is vital,” said Kim

He noted that getting “simultaneous testing” is his approach, which may help balance the pros and cons of each testing approach.


There are a few points beyond, that I’d like to make regarding the approval of Rybrevant, including the importance of comprehensive biomarker testing. So in order to choose or pick the best systemic therapy, it is vital to perform comprehensive molecular profiling to detect genomic alterations that may be present in the tumor … As I mentioned, there are many variants of EGFR mutations. So, I would recommend that you have a discussion with your oncologist, about the type of alterations seen in molecular testing and its potential implications.

Timely biomarker testing is also important. And in my practice, I utilize both liquid biopsy and tissue-based next-generation sequencing for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer because each approach has pros and cons. And so I utilize simultaneous testing. Overall, the combination of chemotherapy is the most effective frontline treatment option that we have today and is recommended for patients with newly diagnosed advanced non-small cell lung cancer with EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations.

Transcript was edited for clarity and conciseness.

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