CANCER TREATMENT/DNA SEQUENCING: Next-gen sequencing helps Mayo Clinic offer personalized cancer treatment

The Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) has launched a new gene panel cancer test to help tailor chemotherapy to individual patients based on the unique genomic signature of each one's tumor. The test, Solid Tumor Targeted Cancer Gene Panel by Next-Generation Sequencing (CANCP), scans specific regions in 50 genes known to affect tumor growth and response to chemotherapy.

"Every patient's cancer is different, and oncology is moving away from treating cancer based on its location in the body in favor of selecting the best medication for the individual patient based on molecular changes in the tumor," says Axel Grothey, MD, a Mayo Clinic oncologist who orders CANCP on selected tumors. "This test helps providers identify such molecular changes without infusing irrelevant details from genes that we know will not affect our choice of medications."

The test is a hotspot panel, which means it scans specific regions of individual genes—rather than the entire gene—in search of tumor mutations that influence response to chemotherapy. It can test solid tumors and focuses on clinically actionable alterations.

"We worked closely with oncologists, pathologists, and molecular geneticists to develop and implement a next-generation sequencing assay that will have actionable results for providers," says Benjamin Kipp, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic molecular geneticist and CANCP's lead designer. "This test focuses on results that oncologists can use to help find the right drug the first time."

This is the second next-generation sequencing panel test offered by the Mayo Clinic Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and Mayo Medical Laboratories. The other is a 17-gene screening test for hereditary colorectal cancers.

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