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Tumor Testing

There are many options for treating hereditary cancers. Choice of treatment can be personalized based on cancer type, stage and genetics.

Companion diagnostic testing

In some cases, knowledge of changes in cancer cells helps doctors choose the best treatment. Some treatments—particularly some targeted therapies—are effective only for people whose cancer cells have specific changes. These treatments are often accompanied by “companion diagnostic tests” that look for certain changes indicating that a tumor may respond well to the therapy. As new targeted therapies are approved, companion diagnostic tests may become available to help doctors learn which patients are more or less likely to respond to these treatments.

Companion diagnostic testing for ovarian cancer

In certain circumstances, tumor testing can help doctors select treatment for ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer.  The following tests have received FDA approval or clearance:

  • FoundationOne tests for multiple targets in tumors, including microsatellite instability (MSI), which can indicate benefit from the agent pembrolizumab.
  • FoundationFocus CDxBRCA looks at advanced ovarian cancers to determine likely benefit from the PARP inhibitor Rubraca.
  • Myriad BRACAnalysis CDx is a companion diagnostic blood test used to determine if women with advanced, recurrent ovarian cancer would benefit from the PARP inhibitor Lynparza. Unlike the FoundationFocus CDxBRCA that looks for mutations in the tumor, this test looks only for inherited BRCA mutations.

Additional tumor tests may also be available. Speak with your oncologist to learn if additional tumor testing may help guide your treatment decisions

As ovarian cancer research continues, more targeted therapies and companion diagnostic tests may be developed, receive FDA approval and be covered by insurance.

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer and you would like to participate in research to develop targeted therapies and companion diagnostic tests, visit our Research Study Search Tool to find studies that are enrolling people like you.

Companion diagnostic testing for pancreatic cancer

In certain circumstances, tumor testing can help doctors select treatment for pancreatic cancer.  It is believed that perhaps 1% of pancreatic cancer patients have tumors that are microsatellite instability “high” (MSI-H).  This feature can indicate possible benefit from the immunotherapy agent pembrolizumab. Pembrolizumab is an immunotherapy that is FDA approval to treat any MSI-H cancers, including pancreatic cancer.  Several labs have tumor tests for MSI. The FDA-approved FoundationOne test identifies multiple targets in tumors, including MSI. If you have pancreatic cancer and your tumor has not been tested for MSI, ask your oncologist if the test might benefit you.

PARP inhibitors are a new type of treatment that are approved to treat advanced breast and ovarian cancer. Although they are not yet approved for pancreatic cancer, PARP inhibitors are being researched to treat pancreatic cancer in people with inherited or certain somatic (acquired) mutations, including those with BRCA or PALB2 mutations. Two tests have received FDA approval as companion diagnostic tests for the use of PARP inhibitors:

  • FoundationFocus CDxBRCA looks at genetic changes within tumors to determine likely benefit from the PARP inhibitor Rubraca.
  • Myriad BRACAnalysis CDx is a companion diagnostic blood test used to determine likely benefit from the PARP inhibitor Lynparza. Unlike the FoundationFocus CDxBRCA test that looks for mutations in the tumor, this test looks only for inherited BRCA mutations.

As pancreatic cancer research continues, new targeted therapies and companion diagnostic tests may be developed, receive FDA approval and be covered by insurance.

If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and you would like to participate in research looking at targeted therapies and companion diagnostic tests, visit our Research Study Search Tool to find studies that are enrolling people like you.

Companion diagnostic testing for breast cancer

In every case of invasive breast cancer, pathologists examine the tumor sample for three markers—estrogen (ER), progesterone (PR) and HER2 proteins—to determine the breast cancer type and develop a treatment plan.  The results of these tumor marker tests play a major role in choice of systemic therapy. In metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer, additional tumor testing may help doctors select treatment. 

Lynparza is a type of treatment known as a PARP inhibitorLynparza is currently FDA approved for use in metastatic breast cancer caused by a BRCA mutation. Myriad’s BRACAnalysis CDx is a companion diagnostic blood test used to determine if an individual with metastatic breast cancer might benefit from Lynparza. If you have advanced breast cancer and you have not been tested for a BRCA mutation, ask your oncologist if the test might benefit you.

A small percentage of patients with advanced breast cancer may have tumors with microsatellite instability (MSI), which can indicate benefit from the immunotherapy agent pembrolizumab. Pembrolizumab is an immunotherapy that has received FDA approval to treat any cancers with MSI expression. The FoundationOne test is an FDA-approved test that identifies multiple targets in tumors, including MSI. If you have advanced breast cancer and your tumor has not been tested for MSI, ask your oncologist if the test might benefit you.

As breast cancer research continues, new targeted therapies and companion diagnostic tests may be developed, receive FDA approval and be covered by insurance.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and you would like to participate in research looking at targeted therapies and companion diagnostic tests, visit our Research Study Search Tool to find studies that are enrolling people like you.

Companion diagnostic testing for prostate cancer

In certain circumstances, tumor testing can help doctors select treatment for prostate cancer.  A small percentage of patients with advanced prostate cancer may have tumors with microsatellite instability (MSI), which can indicate benefit from the immunotherapy agent pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy that has FDA approval to treat any cancers with MSI. The FDA-approved FoundationOne test, as well as other assays identify multiple targets in tumors, including MSI. If you have advanced prostate cancer and your tumor has not been tested for MSI, ask your oncologist if the test might benefit you.

PARP inhibitors are a new type of treatment that are approved to treat advanced breast and ovarian cancer. Not yet approved for prostate cancer, PARP inhibitors are being researched for prostate cancer in men with inherited or certain somatic (acquired) mutations. Two tests have received FDA approval as companion diagnostic tests for the use of PARP inhibitors:

  • FoundationFocus CDxBRCA looks at genetic changes within tumors to determine likely benefit from the PARP inhibitor Rubraca.
  • Myriad BRACAnalysis CDx is a companion diagnostic blood test used to determine likely benefit from the PARP inhibitor Lynparza. Unlike the FoundationFocus CDxBRCA test that looks for mutations in the tumor, this test looks only for inherited BRCA mutations.

As prostate cancer research continues, new targeted therapies and companion diagnostic tests may be developed, receive FDA approval and be covered by insurance.

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and you would like to participate in research looking at targeted therapies and companion diagnostic tests, visit our Research Study Search Tool to find studies that are enrolling people like you.

Updated 04/26/2018

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