Cancer biomarker use varies widely, needs a ‘broader view’

Despite an explosion of research into cancer biomarkers and professional guidelines that urge testing for certain genetic mutations that help detect disease, anticipate its course, or predict response to treatment, many cancer centers are out of sync with oncology testing recommendations.

Payment policies, regulatory oversight, clinician preferences, and varying access to testing technology are among the factors that contribute to discrepancies in cancer care.

So says Jan A. Nowak, MD, PhD. And he is worth hearing out on the subject, as did an audience of hundreds of pathologists, oncologists, and others at this year’s Cancer Biomarkers Conference in Houston.

“Adoption of biomarker cancer testing is not high among cancer centers,” Dr. Nowak told the crowd. “It seems high to us because . . . we go to the meetings and we talk to each other, and we’re doing this stuff. But then there are the people who are not going to the meetings, not talking about it, and not doing it.”

My latest feature article in CAP TODAY. Read the whole shebang.