Cancer biomarkers and cancer drugs - Molecular HealthMolecular Health

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Cancer biomarkers and cancer drugs

Drugs are medically approved for a specific disease (on-label) or not approved (off-label). As a rule of thumb, on-label drugs are more likely to be reimbursed than off-label drugs. There are a number of cancer diseases with very few on-label drugs, and in this case, physicians prescribe also off-label drugs.

 

The genomic test genomic testAlso called genomic profiling, genetic tests, or molecular diagnostics, are medical diagnostic tests that check whether variations (variants) are present in a person’s genetic code (genome) that tell physicians about the type of cancer they have and how their disease may react to specific drugs. This combination of gene and drug information is called biomarker, from biological + marker. results may reveal that your disease has a variant that has already been studied in another cancer disease. For example, your colon cancer may share a cancer-driving variant with lung cancer. If there is an approved drug that targets this variant in lung cancer, there is a chance that the drug may also be effective against your cancer. As the drug is not yet approved for your cancer, this would be an “off-label” use of the drug, and you would have to apply for reimbursement in your individual case. Molecular Health can help you to formulate this application.

Click on your cancer disease below to read the latest information on biomarkers known for your disease and what they tell us about which precision medicine drugs are the best to treat it.

The information provided here on cancer treatment is gathered from publications and databases by Molecular Health’s medical experts. It tells you more about cancer treatment but it is not patient-specific: To find out about the unique molecular profile of your cancer and how it influences the medications available to treat your cancer, ask your physician to request a genomic analysis of your cancer with MH Guide.


An MH Guide report is the starting point for a personalized cancer treatment. It lists all the gene variants detected in your cancer, highlights all the clinically significant variants, and tells your physician how these variants affect how cancer drugs work in your body – whether they make the most common medications effective, ineffective, or even toxic.


The MH Guide report also lists clinical trials that are currently testing promising new ways to treat your cancer. Clinical trials give you an opportunity to get the newest cancer treatment – talk to your physician if you are interested in taking part in a trial.

Explanations of medical and technical terms

An actionable variant or biomarker is a variant identified in a patient’s genetic test that makes the cancer grow and that can be targeted by a medicine known to be effective against that combination of variant and cancer.

These are the molecules used to build proteins. Protein are made of chains of amino acids, and the sequence of the amino acids is encoded in our genes.

A molecule that can be found in your body, for example, in your tumor or in your blood. Some biomarkers provide physicians with information about how patients with a specific disease will react to a specific drug. Testing for biomarkers is important for cancer patients. Also called variants, mutations, alterations, or gene defects.

This is a procedure by which your physician collects a small sample of cells from your cancer for testing in the lab. Depending on the cancer type, the cells are either taken from the tumor itself, or from bone marrow, or from skin. Samples from blood are only possible for blood cancers.

A segment of DNA or RNA, with information on how the amino acids of a protein are encoded. Most genes have multiple exons.

The study of heredity. If you are born with a cancer-causing gene variant inherited from your mother or father, you have a higher risk of developing cancer. This type of cancer is called hereditary cancer.

The study of genes and their functions. Cancer genomics studies the DNA of cancer cells compared to healthy cells.

Also called genomic profiling, genetic tests, or molecular diagnostics, are medical diagnostic tests that check whether variations (variants) are present in a person’s genetic code (genome) that tell physicians about the type of cancer they have and how their disease may react to specific drugs. This combination of gene and drug information is called biomarker, from biological + marker.

The basic building blocks of DNA and RNA.

Written by experts, using up-to-date evidence, they provide physicians with recommendations on the best care options.

Also called genomic tests, genomic profiling, genetic tests, or molecular diagnostics, are medical diagnostic tests that check whether variations (variants) are present in a person’s genetic code (genome) that tell physicians about the type of cancer they have and how their disease may react to specific drugs. This combination of gene and drug information is called biomarker, from biological + marker.

The median length of time patients are on a specific treatment before their cancer starts growing again.

Physicians use genomic diagnostic tests to find the medication that will work best for each patient.

The length of time patients are on a specific treatment and still alive.

A procedure by which tissue is surgically removed from your body, for example, to remove all or part of a tumor. Cells can then be collected from the tumor for testing in the lab.

The preparation and fixation of the sample for the lab. This is important for the accuracy of the interpretation of the genomic test results.

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