By Kim Norris, Founder/President of the Lung Cancer Foundation of America | Chicago Defender
Imagine taking a pill to battle lung cancer—no need for chemotherapy or radiation treatments. As recently as mid-November, the FDA approved a pill to specifically treat ROS1-positive lung cancer, which is one of more than a dozen types of lung cancer with an identified biomarker.
Asking your doctor for biomarker testing can lead to a definitive diagnosis, allowing for more treatment options that involve “just taking a pill.”
Dr. Tejas Patil, Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, says biomarker testing opens the door to understanding your cancer and providing therapies that don’t require chemotherapy.
ROS1 cancer is one of more than a dozen types of lung cancer with an identified biomarker. This is why every lung cancer patient must ask their doctor, “What is my lung cancer’s biomarker?”
“What you’re telling a patient when you say you need to get biomarker testing is you need to have the genetic makeup of your tumor. You need to understand that so that we can know how to give you the most appropriate targeted treatments. And specifically for ROS1, this is important because they’re pill-based treatments. These are not chemotherapy,” said Dr. Tejas Patil, Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Biomarker testing is the gateway to understanding this cancer. Several effective treatment options may become available after a definitive diagnosis through biomarker testing. In cases where the cancer has not yet spread and is in an early stage, surgery may be a viable option to remove the tumor altogether. For advanced stages, treatments in the form of oral medications have proven highly effective.
Clinical trials are also valuable for ROS1 lung cancer patients, as they provide access to investigational drugs. Depending on the trial phase, patients may receive the experimental drug or the best standard of care that represents the current optimal treatment available. The financial burden of care within clinical trials is typically covered by the trial sponsor, offering a chance to access potentially groundbreaking treatments.
For more information on ROS1 lung cancer, biomarker testing, and new therapies, please visit lcfamerica.org.