Understanding the role of mutations and biomarker testing is one of most important things patients must learn. Uncovering the driving force behind each individual’s tumors is not just important, it is critical. Biomarker testing is an opportunity to improve and optimize treatment – possibly avoiding unnecessary treatments and getting to the right treatment sooner. Currently, biomarker testing rates in the gastrointestinal stromal tumor patient population are relatively poor – only about 41% of patients have had testing done. The Life Raft Group Patient Registry, which is a group of extremely proactive patients, notes only about 58% of patients are aware of their mutation.
This is why the LRG is launching the It’s Time campaign. It is time to stop talking and take action to assure patients get tested. The goals of this campaign are to improve the understanding of biomarker testing in the cancer community and increase the number of patients tested.
In this post, we feature an article on informing and educating payers about the economic value of testing.
It’s time to inform and educate payers about the economic value of testing!
Biomarker testing leads to an accurate diagnosis, avoiding the expense of unnecessary, expensive treatments. As seen in the article below, researchers report that genetic testing is cost-effective and beneficial for newly diagnosed patients with metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), a rare type of cancer.
Excerpted from an article published by the University of California San Diego in Science Daily, September 28, 2020:
Because gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are sensitive to the targeted small molecule therapy imatinib, oncologists tend to treat all patients with metastatic GIST with this drug. However, because this rare type of cancer is caused by different genetic mutations, imatinib does not help all patients equally.
“To determine whose cancer may be most responsive, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network suggests that patients undergo genetic testing to identify each individuals’ tumor mutations. And yet, only 30 percent of patients have genetic testing at the time of diagnosis, likely due to concerns over cost and utility of testing,” said Jason Sicklick, MD, professor of surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology at University of California San Diego School of Medicine.