Uptake of EGFR diagnostics in lung cancer improved
In lung cancer, molecular diagnostics are essential in order to identify tumors that are sensitive for targeted therapy. Dr. Chantal Epskamp-Kuijpers (data consultant at PALGA) and Prof. Stefan Willems (pathologist UMCG and vice-chairman of PALGA) have shown previously, based on data from the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR) and the Dutch Pathology Registry (PALGA), that molecular testing was not performed consistently and that there was large variation in testing frequency between pathology laboratories.
Research that builds on this study, again based on NCR and PALGA data, shows that the EGFR testing frequency gradually increased during the years from 73% in 2013 to 81% in 2017. Despite the decrease in variation between laboratories, in 2017 there were still laboratories that tested significantly less often for the presence of EGFR mutations.
The study also demonstrates the importance of distiguishing by EGFR mutation subtype. Patients with an exon 19 deletion have a better median survival when treated with targeted therapy than patients with an L858R mutation (26.4 versus 18.3 months) and patients with exon 20 insertion have a significantly worse prognosis (6.7 months).
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