ASCO 2017: Does Testing at Time of Diagnosis Improve Survival for Lung Cancer Patients?

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Topics include: Treatments

During the 2017 ASCO meeting in Chicago, Host Andrew Schorr chats with Dr. David Carbone about new therapies that are available and how patients should be testing the molecular makeup of their cancer to figure out the optimal treatment for their illness. When discussing treatment decisions for lung cancer patients, Dr. Carbone says it is important that the cancer gets characterized for a variety of markers before beginning any treatment. since everyone's cancer is unique. Dr. David Carbone is the Director of the James Thoracic Center at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Okay.  We're talking about terrifying diagnosis, David.  Someone's diagnosed yesterday, and they—some family member is watching TV today, and now they see TV ads for some of the drugs in lung cancer. And they say, does that apply to me or my loved one, because it seems hopeful?  So how do we know what's right for what patient? 

Dr. Carbone:

So it's very clear that we have a lot of new therapies, and they're active in some patients and not other patients.  And I think the first message that needs to be made very clear is that the cancers need to be characterized for a variety of markers before any treatment gets started, because everyone's cancer is different from everyone else's cancer.  And we have much better knowledge today about specific features of cancer that are associated with benefit from one drug versus another. 

And so in spite of the television ads, those drugs are not appropriate for some patients, and they're exactly the right answer for others.  And patients need to have a conversation with their physician where they demand that their tumor have genetic analysis, immune biomarker analysis for PD-L1, and all of that information needs to be available to choose the best therapy for that patient. 

Andrew Schorr:

Now, you are at the James Cancer Center in Ohio, Columbus, Ohio.  You're working in your own state, in Ohio, to make that a realty throughout the state that people get tested, right? 

Dr. Carbone:

Well, in spite of the state-of-the-art saying that we need to know the molecular features of cancers before picking therapy, the sad fact is that many patients have therapies chosen at random, don't have the appropriate molecular analysis. And not all of the actionable things, not all of the really useful markers that we have today are even part of many hospitals' panels. 

So what we're doing in the state of Ohio is we're trying to capture every new advanced lung cancer patient in the state, and we're providing free, up-front advanced genomic testing as well as PD-L1 immunologic marker testing to those patients. And we're trying to show that that testing provided at the time of diagnosis improves the survival of these patients.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on June 19, 2017