What is Genomic Testing in Cancer Treatment?
Genomic testing is done to detect changes in the DNA of cancer patients and their tumors, using specialized techniques such as next generation sequencing. In addition, with the help of genomic tests, better targeted cancer treatment can be planned, including personalized treatments.
Cancer, whose incidence has increased during our age, is defined as the uncontrolled division of cells. This uncontrolled proliferation in cells is caused by permanent changes (mutations) in genes that control the division, growth, and survival of cells.
What are Most Common Genes Tested in Genomic Testing in Cancer Treatment?
The most frequently used genomic testing that guide cancer treatment can be listed as follows.
The HER-2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-2) gene, normally found on the surface of many cells, controls cell growth. However, in some cancers such as breast, stomach, lung, ovary (uterus), and uterus (uterus), the number of copies of the gene, that determines HER-2 level, increases and causes cancer cells to multiply much faster. By detecting the increase in the HER-2 gene through newly developed methods, patients are given drugs that prevent the HER-2 receptor from working, resulting in more successful cancer treatment.
Mutations in the EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) gene, one of the genes responsible for cell growth, causes an increase in the number of gene copies. This condition is most common in lung, head and neck, as well as pancreatic cancer. Today, there are drugs that prevent tumor growth and bind to the EFGR-1 receptor to prevent it from working. However, before treatment and these drugs are used, EGFR mutation analysis must be performed.
Mutations in the FGFR (Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor) gene, one of the genes responsible for cell growth, involved in a variety of cancers, including bile duct (cholangiocarcinoma), breast cancer, gastric cancer and others. Today, there are drugs that prevent tumor growth and bind to members of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family of proteins. Many FGFR inhibitors are in early clinical trials as a cancer treatment.
Mutations in the MET (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) gene and its MET receptor, also known as hepatocyte growth factor receptor (HGFR), can induce cancer growth, either by an increase in the number of gene copies, or specific alterations such as MET Exon 14. This condition is most common in lung, head and neck, liver, gastric and other cancers. Today, there are several drugs that prevent tumor growth and bind to the MET receptor to prevent it from working. However, before treatment and these drugs are used, MET mutation analysis must be performed, usually with advanced genomic testing.
In some cases, mutations occur in the RAS gene, also responsible for cell growth, and this gene produces signals of continuous growth and division. Seen in many cancers such as colorectal, lung, head and neck cancer, patients with this mutation become resistant to certain medications. Therefore, patients should be given the RAS mutation test before treatment to determine which drugs should be given to patients with detected mutations.
The mutation in the BRAF gene, which encodes the protein BRAF, plays an important role in cell growth. Because the BRAF protein is constantly active, it continuously generates signals for the growth of the cell. This causes both cancer development and a faster course for an existing cancer. The effect of BRAF mutation has been clearly demonstrated in many cancers such as colorectal, lung, and malignant melanoma. Therefore, drugs that prevent BRAF protein from working, have been developed.
The Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) gene is responsible for the synthesis of ALK receptors, which are especially important for the development of brain and nerve cells. However, in some lung cancer patients, the ALK gene and the EML-4 gene combine and the EML4-ALK fusion gene is formed. These patients respond very well to some ALK inhibitor medications, thus enabling a much longer life span. Massive Bio uses expert genomic knowledge and artificial intelligence, combined with patient support, to help you find the ideal genomic testing to fight your cancer, and locate novel clinical trials.