Surveys shed light on clinicians' attitudes toward biomarker testing in lung cancer

May 16, 2013

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has announced results of two surveys that explored how pulmonologists and pathologists are incorporating biomarker testing into the care of patients with lung cancer. The results point to an increased role for these physicians in biomarker testing as well as greater multidisciplinary collaboration. However, they also reveal that an opportunity exists to improve how soon these tests are requested and to identify challenges with testing, including collecting a sufficient amount and quality of lung tissue.

Biomarker testing—the practice of testing tissue for a specific genetic mutation or translocation—is critical in the diagnosis of lung cancer, as it helps physicians determine a patient’s specific type of cancer and inform a personalized treatment approach.

“These surveys provide perspective on the continued need for a multidisciplinary approach to biomarker testing to ultimately support personalized care of patients with lung cancer,” says William Goeckeler, PhD, director, Oncology Medical Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “Automatic biomarker testing is critical for an accurate diagnosis as it helps match each patient with the most appropriate therapy as early as possible.”

The surveys were conducted online in November/December 2012. The first consisted of 100 pulmonologists practicing in the U.S.; the second consisted of 250 pathologists practicing in the U.S. Survey responses revealed the need for consistent guidelines on the size and quality of tissue needed to perform biomarker testing. Both pulmonologists and pathologists said the biggest challenges with biomarker testing include not always acquiring a tissue sample that is sufficient in size (60% and 73%, respectively) or quality (31% and 39%). Forty-one percent of pulmonologists do not believe they have enough information about the size of tissue needed. Read more about the survey findings in this press release.